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Fast Facts About Obstructive Sleep Apnea


What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?


  • OSA is a condition in which a person stops breathing repeatedly through the night.

  • Breathing stops because the throat or “airway” collapses and prevents air from getting into the lungs.

  • Sleep patterns are disrupted, resulting in excessive sleepiness or fatigue during the day.

What causes the airway to collapse during sleep?


  • Extra tissue in the back of the airway, such as large tonsils.

  • Decrease in the tone of the muscles that hold the airway open.

  • The tongue falling back and closing off the airway

How many people have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?


  • Four percent of middle-aged men and two percent of middle-aged women in America have OSA.

  • Most OSA sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated.

  • OSA is as common as adult asthma.

What should you do if you suspect you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?


  • See your doctor: evaluation by a doctor specializing in sleep disorders is recommended.

  • Have a sleep study done. A sleep study can provide the doctor with information about how you sleep and breathe. This information will help the doctor to determine your diagnosis and treatment options.

What happens if Obstructive Sleep Apnea is not treated?

There is possible increased risk for:


  • High blood pressure

  • Heart disease and heart attack

  • Stroke

  • Fatigue-related motor vehicle and work accidents

  • Decreased quality of life

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