What is Sleep Apnea?
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have repeated episodes of partial or complete obstruction of the throat during sleep. If partial or complete obstructions occur breathing is reduced or stops for a short time, from 10 seconds up to a minute or more as a result. These episodes of obstruction may happen many times – even hundreds of times per night.
If you have OSA you may snore, be restless and others may notice that you stop breathing during the night. Because of the disruptive effects of OSA on sleep you may find yourself waking up often during the night, sometimes gasping or choking, although this does not always happen. However, even if there are few awakenings overnight, sleep is disturbed and you may wake up feeling unrefreshed because of this. Even if you have had a full night’s sleep. As the day goes on, you may struggle to stay awake, especially in the afternoon. Grumpiness and other mood changes are common in untreated OSA
Some people know that their breathing is not normal at night, but may be unaware that this is a medical problem that is causing them harm. Fortunately, good treatments are available.