Many people take a good night’s sleep for granted. They sleep peacefully through the night unaware that up to 10% of the adult population has their sleep disrupted by repeated episodes of upper airway collapse, known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Thankfully, OSA is a treatable condition.
During sleep our muscles relax. The muscles in our throat, however, maintain some tone to hold our airway open for us to breathe. For some people these muscles relax too much. This can cause the airway to narrow slightly.
Partial airway narrowing will often result in snoring - a vibration generated by air passing the soft, floppy parts of the throat during breathing. However, sometimes the narrowing is more significant and causes a partial or complete reduction in airflow to the lungs. This condition is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
When the airway is blocked OSA sufferers will wake either partially or completely to breathe again. They are often unaware this even happens. This (apneas) can occur up to several hundred times a night, causing severe disruption to sleep and daytime sleepiness.
Untreated OSA may also lead to fatigue related road accidents and other serious health problems including high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.The good news is that effective treatment is at hand!