Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Authored by MCN Neurologists

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by repetitive collapse or critical narrowing of the upper airway, usually behind the uvula and soft palate and/or the base of the tongue.  Reduced upper airway muscle tone and other physiologic changes that take place normally during sleep can promote OSA in patients with susceptible anatomic features like a prominent tongue base, enlarged tonsils, or extra fatty tissue around the neck.  Snoring can be a clue to the diagnosis, as this reflects vibration of soft tissues due to turbulent airflow across the narrowed area.  Breathing pauses during sleep or waking up gasping/choking are highly suggestive.  OSA can lead to significant daytime sleepiness because of fragmented nocturnal sleep as the brain is awoken by upper airway collapse/narrowing – the patient is often unaware that this has taken place.  Sleep apnea also contributes to a number of serious health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Learn more about treatments for this condition:

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
          Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation

Complete the STOP-Bang questionnaire to assess your risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

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