What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is one of the more well known sleep disorders.But despite its far-reaching familiarity, most people don’t actually know what the disorder is, what causes it or how it’s treated.In this article, we’re going to take a brief look at those things.What is OSA?OSA is a sleep disorder characterised by the continuous interruption of breathing during sleep. This happens when the muscles in the airway relax to the point of blocking airflow, and this happens multiple times in a night.Individuals can stop breathing for as long as 60 seconds.What causes OSA?OSA is much more common in older people, since the collapse of the muscles around the throat becomes more likely with age. But other causes can include having a genetically narrower airway, or being overweight and having the fat around the neck press down and collapse the airway.What are the symptoms of OSA?There are a variety of symptoms associated with OSA. These include:

  • Snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Waking up during the night gasping or choking
  • Morning headaches
  • Waking unrefreshed
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Disturbed or restless sleep
  • Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
  • Depression, anxiety or mood behaviour changes

Additionally, untreated OSA can result in:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk cardiovascular disease
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Type II diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Impotence
  • Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents

How is OSA treated?There are a number of potential treatments for OSA, all of which depend on the specific individual and their case.However, one of the most common treatment options is CPAP therapy. This involves the use of a specific machine while asleep, which uses pressure to make sure the airway stays open, and the individual is able to get a full night of uninterrupted rest.OSA is a serious sleep disorder, and should be treated as such.If you, or someone you know, has trouble sleeping please speak to a doctor. Book an appointment with your GP and get in touch with us.Better sleep means better life.