Obstructive sleep apnea, or commonly called sleep apnea or OSA, is a medical condition where the soft tissues of the throat become lax or loosened. This makes them fall into the person’s airway when he or she is sleeping which blocks airflow and causes the person to stop breathing. These disruptions can last only a moment or go on for longer periods. They typically occur multiple times a night. Symptoms can be mild or nonexistent or they can severe such as snoring, snorting, or choking while asleep.
Snoring does occur with sleep apnea regularly but it is not a surety that the person has OSA. Snoring can be caused by clogged sinus passages, allergies, and colds. Additionally, not every person with OSA will snore. If a person experiences snoring as well as other signs like forgetfulness, moodiness, daytime drowsiness, problems concentrating, waking up gasping for air or choking, and falling asleep during the day he or she will want to be tested for OSA.
Sleep apnea is connected to the greater likelihood of developing heart disease and having a heart attack, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, having a stroke, and cognitive conditions. It can also increase the likelihood of being in a fatigued auto accident.
For mild symptoms, a night guard can shift the lower jaw forward and keep the airway clear. These appliances are custom made for the unique person and will be comfortable to wear when asleep. When the condition is more severe, continuous positive airway pressure is the most frequently used treatment. Patients wear a facial or nasal mask while asleep. The mask is connected to a pump which provides a positive flow of air into the nasal passages which keep the airway open.
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