Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

This is the most serious sleep disorder. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the periodic obstruction of the upper airway during sleep and has a prevalence rate of three to eight percent. The National Institute of Health estimates more than 18 million Americans suffer from OSA. Periods of apnea can last up to 90 seconds and may occur several hundred times per night. OSA is the most common medical cause of excessive daytime sleepiness and is more common in men.

Symptoms of OSA are listed below:

  • Loud, habitual snoring
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness/fatigue
  • Irritability/personality changes
  • Obesity
  • Choking/gasping/snorts during sleep
  • Hypertension
  • Non-refreshing sleep/inability to wake up
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Morning headaches
  • Upper airway abnormalities
  • Frequent napping
  • Nocturnal angina/arrhythmias
  • Frequent awakenings
  • Reduced libido

Diagnosis for Obstructive Sleep Apnea is made through pertinent history, physical examination, and polysomnography. Appropriate evaluation, treatment and follow-up care are vital for the long-term health of patients with OSA. Untreated OSA can lead to increased risk of heart disease, strokes and accidents.

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