Obstructive Sleep Apnea Management and Treatment
By: Dr. Harneet Walia • Posted on May 09, 2016
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a potentially serious condition characterized by repetitive episodes of complete or partial airway closure during sleep. This can cause oxygen levels to go down during sleep, waking up in the night, excessive daytime sleepiness and tiredness during the day.
Some of the common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are:
- Pauses in breathing
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Gasping for air while sleeping
- Dry mouth in the morning
- Need to urinate in the middle of the sleep
- Restlessness during the sleep
- Night time sweating
- Impairment in concentration
- Difficulty maintaining sleep
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
OSA tends to be more common in men, however after menopause, the risk of OSA increases in women due to the hormonal changes associated with it.
Some of the other risk factors for OSA include:
- Excessive weight
- Increasing age
- Large neck size
- Hormonal problems
- Narrow airway anatomy
- Family history of OSA
What Happens To Our Bodies When Sleep Apnea is Left Untreated?
Untreated OSA is associated with myriad of consequences. Some of the common consequences of untreated OSA are:
- Increased risk of depression.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness can lead to increased risk of motor vehicle accidents and work related errors.
- Cardiovascular problems including increased risk of high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, heart attacks and stroke.
How to Know if you Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OSA can be detected by in a lab sleep study or simply home sleep study if your doctor thinks you are fit for that. General lifestyle measures can help OSA, such as:
- Losing weight
- Avoidance of sleeping on the back
- Avoiding alcohol
- Treating nose congestion
Sleep Apnea Treatment
The main treatment of OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), which works by splint opening the airway by gush of air. Other treatment options for OSA include oral appliances, which open the airway by pushing the lower jaw forward and surgical options. There are many different kinds of surgeries that can be performed for OSA.
If you think you or your bed partner has symptoms of OSA, talk to your doctor right away and have it tested. Treating OSA can make a huge difference in the quality of life.
Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be in Charge!
Dr. Harneet Walia
Sleep Disorders Center, Neurological Institute at Cleveland Clinic