Obstructive Sleep Apnea

by Mark Robinson
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obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea, also known as ‘OSA’, is a medical condition of the repetitive collapse of the upper airway of the respiratory tract.

It is a sleeping disorder that many human beings experiences in daily life. This disease associated with sleep happens when muscles of your throat and soft tissues like the soft palate and tongue relax. It triggers the narrowing of the airway leading to difficulty in breathing in an individual. Besides, Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a disorder in which the normal flow of air from the mouth and nose into the lungs of a human being comes to a halt even during sleep. We present this blog to help you know better about this sleep disorder called Obstructive sleep apnea.

What are the Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Usually, most individuals suffering from Obstructive sleep apnea complain mainly about daytime sleepiness. It also triggers a constant decrease in oxygen supply to the brain and other body parts. It leads to daytime drowsiness symptoms and makes an individual lack clarity in action. In addition, there are also other signs and symptoms of OSA that you can observe. They include the following:

symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea
  1. Snorting
  2. Choking
  3. Gasping
  4. Snoring aloud
  5. Breathing interruption during sleep
  6. Drowsiness
  7. Headaches in the morning
  8. Forgetfulness
  9. Grumpy feeling
  10. Repetitive awakenings
  11. Hyperactivity, especially in children
  12. Loss of interest in sex
  13. Depression worsening
  14. Poor performance at work and school

Furthermore, daytime drowsiness is a symptom of Obstructive sleep apnea that can put the life of an individual suffering from this medical condition at risk, especially concerning possible vehicle and industrial accidents. There are, in fact, many treatments available that can help you relieve daytime drowsiness.

The Causes of Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA:

Several factors can trigger Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA in an individual. They include:

  • Firstly, several chronic lung diseases such as COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Kidney or heart failure resulting in fluid buildup in the neck
  • Medical conditions related to the endocrine systems such as acromegaly, hypothyroidism, etc.
  • Neuromuscular medical disorders, such as stroke, interfere with brain signals passing through your chest and airway.
  • Pregnancy
  • Finally, obesity hypoventilation syndrome is a breathing disorder that specifically people suffering from weight gain possess.

What are the risk factors associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

In Obstructive Sleep Apnea, if you are an individual having physical features that enhance the narrowing of your upper airway, then the risk of you acquiring OSA also increases. They are as follows:

  1. Regular smoking
  2. Large tonsils
  3. A large tongue that blocks the airway
  4. The lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw; the condition is called retrognathia
  5. Family history of OSA
  6. A woman having a collar size of 17 inches or more
  7. A man whose collar size is 17 inches or more.

How do you diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Firstly, the diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea begins with your healthcare professional studying your complete past medical history and physical examination. Secondly, your doctor will physically examine your head and neck to identify any signs associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Thirdly, your physician may ask you to fill out a questionnaire about the quality of sleep, daytime drowsiness, and sleeping habits. Finally, after the overall analysis of your Obstructive Sleep Apnea is completed, you will have to undergo one of the tests below.

EEG: EEG (Electroencephalogram) is a type of sleep examination that helps measure electric activity in the brain.

Furthermore, it consists of electrodes attached to the scalp, which will help monitor the brain waves of an individual suffering from OSA before and after sleep.


Extraocular Movement or EOM is a test that helps in recording eye movement. It comprises a small electrode placed at a distance of 1 centimeter above the outer upper corner of the right eye. In addition, another electrode is placed 1 centimeter below the outer lower corner of the left eye. When your eyes move away from the center, movement is recorded.


An electrocardiogram is a test that involves recording electrical signals radiated from your heart during a sleep study. In other words, an ECG helps monitor your heart rate and rhythm.


During Electromyography or EMG, two electrodes are placed on the chin, one above the jaw line and the other below. There are other electrodes, too, that are placed on the shin. It is when muscle movement occurs that electric activity gets recorded by the electrodes.

Pulse Oximetry:

This type of examination for Obstructive Sleep Apnea involves using a device known as a pulse oximeter.

Furthermore, this tool is clipped into a region in your body that is thin and possesses good blood flow, such as the earlobe or fingertip. The oximeter consists of tiny emitters with red and infrared LEDs, which help calculate the oxygen saturation level in the blood.

Treatment options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

If you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA, you need to treat it so that the airflow, while you are sleeping, does not get obstructed.

There are few such treatments available. They are as follows:

Loss of weight:

One of the most common solutions recommended to people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea who also happen to be obese is weight management. Now, even though there is no evidence to suggest that losing weight leads to completely removing this sleeping disorder. There are signs that weight loss does decrease the severity of OSA.


Generally speaking, there is no common consensus formed regarding using surgery in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Therefore, when using CPAP, BPAP, and oral devices proves ineffective, you may consider the use of surgery. There are also a few factors that you need to consider before you opt for surgery to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea. They are as follows:

If you possess a problem that is capable of surgically correcting it.

CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure:

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, also known as CPAP, is a major treatment for OSA. It is usually administered using a face mask worn during the night. Furthermore, this mask delivers airflow to keep airways open during nighttime. More importantly, this method is most effective in treating OSA.

BPAP or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure:

BPAP or BiPAP machines are devices that deliver two pressures in response to breathing, i.e. inhaled and exhaled pressure. There are pressure changes that occur during inhaling and exhaling.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder that has several treatment options that you can use to get rid of it. Therefore, if you are suffering from OSA, you need to visit your doctor, who can create a treatment plan that suits your needs by combining lifestyle changes and therapy.

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