OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition that occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway, causing breathing to stop for periods of time and oxygen levels in the bloodstream to decrease during sleep. The brain responds to each of these “apnea events” by waking the person in order to resume breathing. Since apnea can happen hundreds of times per night, sleep becomes broken and ineffective.
People with untreated OSA have a higher risk of heart attack, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, problems with thinking, memory and attention, as well as obesity and diabetes. However, effective treatment for sleep apnea may significantly reduce these potentially serious and even life-threatening problems.