What is obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is not well known still and is caused by a partial or complete blockage of the upper airways. As a result air cannot get through air passages causing pauses in breathing during sleep.
During sleep all our muscles relax including those of our throat and tongue. The result of the muscles receding to the back of the throat produce a blockage of the airways. Most people ignore they suffer from sleep apnea, thus are not treated for the dysfunction.
Sleep apnea is responsible for interruption of breathing for periods of 10 to 30 seconds causing a deprivation of oxygen to the brain. During an apnea episode, oxygen in the bloodstream is reduced forcing the heart to work harder to compensate.
When breathing stops, the brain is instructed to wake up the person so breathing will resume. Those waking periods are often undetected by the affected sleeper. Not only is sleep apnea affecting the quality of sleep causing excessive fatigue and irritability, but there are serious consequences resulting from sleep apnea such as higher risk of a heart attack, high blood pressure, weight gain and other health problems. Obstructive sleep apnea is a degenerative disorder that can increase the death factor in some people.