What is obstructive sleep apnea?
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, which affects upwards of 45 million Americans. People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. People with OSA snore and repeatedly experience brief interruptions of breathing (apnea) during sleep, otherwise known as sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration. Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.
What are the common symptoms of OSA?Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) include:
- Awakening due to gasping or choking
- Restless sleep
- Memory impairment
- Morning headaches
- Morning sore throat or dry mouth
- Frequent nocturnal urination
- Erectile dysfunction
How much sleep do we really need?
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)