Obstructive sleep apnea

Alternative Names

Sleep apnea – obstructive; Apnea – obstructive sleep apnea syndrome; Sleep-disordered breathing; OSA

Definition of Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which pauses in breathing occur during sleep because the airway has become narrowed, blocked, or floppy.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

All of the muscles in your body become more relaxed during sleep. This includes the muscles that help keep the airway open and allow air to flow into the lungs.

Symptoms

A person who has obstructive sleep apnea often is not aware of the apnea episodes during the night. Often, family members witness the periods of apnea.

Signs and tests

The health care provider will perform a complete history and physical exam. This will involve carefully checking your mouth, neck, and throat. You may be given a survey that asks a series of questions about daytime sleepiness, sleep quality, and bedtime habits.

Treatment

The goal is to keep the airway open so that breathing does not stop during sleep.

Expectations (prognosis)

With treatment, the symptoms of sleep apnea should be totally corrected.

Review

Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/15/2010

Obstructive sleep apnea

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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