Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. It occurs when the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the upper airway during sleep. Some symptoms of Sleep Apnea are snoring, daytime sleepiness, headaches, irritability, anxiety, depression, memory loss, gastric reflux, and high blood pressure.
Patients with sleep apnea can stop breathing up to hundreds of times per evening, for time periods ranging from 5 seconds to over a minute in length. While breathing is stopped, and oxygen is restricted to the heart and brain, the increased heart rate and stimulation causes the body to momentarily wake. This disruption in sleep pattern is what causes excessive daytime drowsiness and exhaustion in patients.
If left untreated, the constant strain placed on the heart and brain, coupled with poor sleep quality and duration can result in serious and dangerous complications to your overall health, including heart disease, stroke, mood disorders, and accidents related to daytime drowsiness.
Please see our Sleep Website for more information on OSA and treatment options.