What are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea?The signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea result from disruption of the normal sleep architecture. The frequent arousals and the inability to achieve or maintain the deeper stages of sleep can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, nonrestorative sleep, automobile accidents, personality changes, decreased memory, erectile dysfunction (impotence), and depression. The symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring and/or abnormal pattern of snoring with
pauses and gasps. Other symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, memory changes, depression, and irritability. In some patients sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and heart attack.
It is important to emphasize that often, the person who has obstructive sleep apnea does not remember the episodes of apnea during the night. The predominant symptoms are usually associated with excessive daytime sleepiness due to poor sleep during the night. Often, family members, especially spouses, witness the periods of apnea. People who are extremely obese often have obesity-hypoventilation syndrome (pickwickian syndrome) as well as obstructive sleep apnea. Excess body fat interferes with the movement of the chest wall, reducing the amount of air that reaches the lungs. Excess body fat below the diaphragm compresses the lungs, making breathing shallow. Excess body fat around the throat compresses the upper airway, reducing air flow.
Daytime fatigue and sleepiness are the most significant complaints of the patient with obstructive sleep apnea. Frequently, the patient falls asleep during sedentary activities, such as watching television or sitting in a movie theater. Near-miss automobile crashes may occur because the patient dozes off behind the wheel. As daytime sleepiness becomes more excessive, the patient may report falling asleep in embarrassing situations, such as during meals or when sitting in a car stopped at a traffic light. The patient also complains of being tired on awakening in the morning. The patient often has to nap during the day but typically wakes up unrefreshed.
Obstructive sleep apnea typically affects middle-age, overweight men, and may affect women in later years. Obstructive apnea can be aggravated by alcohol, sleeping pills and tranquilizers taken at bedtime.
More information on sleep apneaWhat is sleep apnea? - Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person stops breathing during the night. Sleep apnea means cessation of breath characterized by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction.
What types of sleep apnea are there? - There are three types of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea, mixed sleep apnea.
What is obstructive sleep apnea? - Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which complete or partial obstruction of the airway during sleep causes loud snoring, oxyhemoglobin desaturations and frequent arousals.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea? - Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by repetitive upper airway obstruction during sleep as a result of narrowing of the respiratory passages.
What're the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea? - Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, Daytime sleepiness, memory changes, depression, and irritability.
What is central sleep apnea? - Central sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the breathing muscles to initiate respirations.
What causes central sleep apnea? - Conditions that can cause sentral sleep apnea include bulbar poliomyelitis, encephalitis affecting the brainstem, neurodegenerative illnesses.
What're the symptoms of central sleep apnea? - Symptoms of central sleep apnea include extreme exhaustion and sleepiness during daylight hours, early morning headaches, lack of concentration, and memory loss.
What are the risk factors for sleep apnea? - There are several factors that may predispose a person towards sleep apnea, including gender, age, ethnicity, geography, obesity, immune abnormalities.
What are the complications of sleep apnea? - Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition because there are interruptions in breathing during sleep.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed? - A sleep test, called polysomnography is done to diagnose sleep apnea. Confirmation of the diagnosis requires making measurements while the person sleeps.
What's the treatment to stop sleep apnea? - Treatment for sleep apnea is determined based on the individual's specific circumstances and can include behavioral changes, physical therapy and surgery.
What surgeries are available to cure sleep apnea? - Surgeries to stop sleep apnea include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty, tracheostomy, radiofrequency ablation.
What about the CPAP therapy for sleep apnea? - The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is nasal continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) therapy.