What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a disruptive condition that affects the way a person breathes during sleep. Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea essentially stop breathing throughout the night, sometimes for dangerously long periods of time. Although it is a predominantly male condition, many women suffer from sleep apnea as well. Estimates show that as many as 10% of men and women suffer from sleep apnea, often occurring during middle-age years.
The back of the tongue is normally what obstructs the airway in sleep apnea patients, causing a person to temporarily stop breathing. Aside from the obvious danger that is caused by not breathing, other serious side effects can occur, including reduced or extremely low levels of oxygen in the body. The patient’s heart rate and blood pressure may also increase. This may happen every time a person stops breathing, which can occur up to 120 times per hour. This takes a great toll on the body, since the person gasps for air in an attempt to awaken the body and begin breathing again. As you can imagine, the sufferer also lacks needed rest and experiences tiredness due to the lack the deep sleep needed to heal and refresh the body.
How dangerous is Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can be fatal and is linked to many conditions, including strokes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, night time urination, and even impotence. Daytime sleepiness and exhaustion are the most significant symptoms of sleep apnea. Excessive sleepiness can have other adverse consequences, such as impaired mental abilities. People who drive with moderate to extreme sleepiness can be just as dangerous as those driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Simply put, sleep apnea is not a good thing. Some studies show that the condition can shorten a person’s life by 10 years.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is treatable! There are safe, effective ways to treat the condition that are not intrusive to your lifestyle or family. Contact the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Sleep Medicine today and schedule a complimentary consult.