Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) is the most common sleep disorder, affecting more than 20 million Americans. It is caused by a functional obstruction of the upper airway which results in breathing pauses (apneas) and disruption of sleep (arousals).

These pauses can occur hundreds of times throughout the night.
Symptoms associated with sleep apnea include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Large neck size (greater than 17 inches)
  • Snoring, snorts, gasps, choking
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Restless sleep
  • Breathing pauses
  • Frequent urination

Untreated sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, weight gain, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, memory problems and headaches. Sleep apnea is also linked to poor work quality, decreased libido, automobile accidents, depression, and ADHD in children.

The diagnosis of OSAS requires a complete history, physical examination, and a overnight sleep study (polysomnogram). Treatment options include weight loss, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the use of an oral appliance, and surgical remedies.

Patients should discuss a sleep evaluation with their doctor if they have any of the following problems:

  • Loud excessive snoring
  • Snoring that wakes the patient at night
  • Gasping and choking during sleep
  • Dry mouth, sore throat, or headache in the morning
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • High blood pressure