What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

You’ve probably heard of Obstructive Sleep Apnea before, but… what actually is it? What causes it? And what effect can it have on people?

When we’re sleeping, the muscles in our upper airway (near the base of the tongue) relax and lead to a narrowing of said airway. This is normal for everyone, however in some people it can narrow to such a degree that it can be difficult to breathe properly.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) describes the situation where this happens so often overnight that sleep is actually disrupted because of it.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

While OSA occurs in many older people, as a result of increasing age, it can affect middle-aged people, young adults, and even children. When OSA appears in younger people, it’s usually because of large tonsils or unusual facial bone structure. In addition, obesity is also a very common cause.

The effects of OSA manifest in a variety of different ways. These include excessive daytime sleepiness, mood swings, and an increase in anxiety and depression. Also, because people with OSA usually snore, these same symptoms can also manifest in the bed partner of the individual.

More than that, evidence suggests that OSA can lead to far more critical health concerns such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

Sleep disorders like OSA, are a serious issue, that can have serious consequences, and deserve serious attention.

If you, or someone you know, has trouble sleeping, then please talk to your GP, and get in touch with us to find out how we may be able to help. Sleep Well - Live Well - To hear about OSA from our lead physician and medical director, Dr Andrew Bradbeer, check out the video below.

This blog post is from Keystone Medical Media, a sub-entity of Keystone Content.

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