What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that inhibits natural air flow during sleep. This condition is common and can be fatal, however of the 18 million Americans who show signs of the condition, many do not seek medical help.

Obstructive apnea happens when tissues in the throat block the air way during sleep which limits how much oxygen is able to get to vital organs such as the brain and heart, and people who experience this condition can even stop breathing for short periods. People with this condition often snore very loudly at night, and tend to wake up multiple times during the night for a very brief amount of time without realizing it causing many sufferers to wake up in the morning feeling tired and as if they did not get enough sleep.

Excessive snoring and feelings of sleep loss are not the only problems related to obstructive apnea. Sufferers can also experience memory loss, head aches, depression, irritability, a decreased ability to concentrate, as well as a weakened sex drive. Sufferers of this condition are more likely to have stroke and heart problems like heart attacks, heart failure, and hypertension. Sufferers are also more likely to have accidents while driving or operating heavy machinery.

Signs that You May Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Although majority of OSA sufferers tend to be older and in the obese category with more fat surrounding the patient’s neck, anyone (both men and women) at any age and with any body type can experience the condition. Sleep apnea becomes more severe with age and weight gain. Some of the more common signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Falling asleep accidentally during the day
  • Day time feelings of sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling unrefreshed upon waking in the morning
  • Excessive snoring
  • Insomnia
  • Noticing choking sounds and gasps for breath upon waking during the night

It is important for those who experience any of these symptoms to be evaluated for sleep apnea. There are many facilities in Toledo OH to schedule an appointment to be checked for sleep apnea and seek the correct treatment if diagnosed.

How Obstructive Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed

Sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a physician during an over night sleep study. During this study, patients will have their heart beat, brain waves, and breathing evaluated during sleep. The test also includes an evaluation of movement in the arms and legs to determine if the patient has the condition.

During this test, patients will also be evaluated for other conditions that imitate or worsen sleep apnea such as:

  • Mental health disorders
  • Use of medication
  • Substance abuse
  • Other sleep disorders
  • Other medical conditions

How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treated?

If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, the next step is to seek proper treatment. There are many resources for sleep apnea sufferers to be treated in the Toledo OH area. A trained AADSM dentist can provide effective treatment methods for patients such as oral appliance therapy and upper airway surgery. These methods can be used by themselves or in junction with other sleep apnea treatments to correct the condition in the best way possible and restore the patient’s health and quality of life.