Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common chronic breathing disorder characterized by repeated episodes of upper airway obstruction occurring during sleep. This disorder stays unrecognized in most cases as its accurate diagnosis requires an overnight sleep study in a medical facility. Obstructive Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing. These pauses can last from a few seconds to even a few minutes. Depending on the severity, it happens once every few hours or up to 30 times an hour. Apnea secondarily leads to sleep disruption and sudden awakening of the affected person. Children suffering from enlarged tonsils or overweight people are particularly affected by this problem. Prolonged periods without proper sleep can hinder about every facet of your day to day life. The mainstay of treatment of OSA is the application of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to maintain the airways open while the patient is asleep. Complications of untreated OSA may include high blood pressure, heart disease, headaches, motor vehicle accidents, depression, memory loss, and even death.
Recent clinical studies have demonstrated that excess weight is the strongest risk factor associated with OSA in adults. Fat deposits in the tissues surrounding the upper airways are thought to cause intermittent obstruction while sleeping. A 10-percent weight gain may even increase the odds of developing moderate to severe OSA by six times.
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