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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

FAQTreatmentPatient Information
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is an abnormal physical condition where people experience recurrent episodes of their throat closing while asleep, resulting in a difficulty getting air into their lungs.  The gold standard method of diagnosing sleep apnea is polysomnogram (sleep study). 

Obstructive Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles that normally hold the throat open while awake, relax during sleep and collapse making it impossible for the body to get oxygen. This can occur for greater than 10 seconds, which is called ‘apnea.’

This inhibits a person to get a goodnight’s rest because the body is telling you to wake up so you can breathe. The person is unaware this is occurring and restful sleep is impossible!


Educational Information

Sleep Apnea is one of the most important conditions identified in the last 50 years. Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA) is a treatable disorder that results in episodes of stopped breathing due to blockages in the airway during sleep.

How Serious Is OSA?

Depending on the degree of severity, OSA is a potentially life-threatening condition. Someone who has undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea is likely to have a heart attack, a stroke, cardiac arrest during sleep, or a harmful accident. In addition, awakening to breathe hundreds of times in a single night causes the victim to become very sleep deprived.

There is a constant risk of serious accidents such as falling asleep while driving as well as impaired function in the workplace and in personal relationships. All of the negative consequences of OSA increase as severity increases. Untreated OSA tends to progressively worsen and sooner or later will result in partial or complete disability and death.

Treating this condition will improve your quality of life, and the quality of yours and your partners sleep.

Predisposing factors of OSA

  • Excessive Weight, Neck Circumference, Narrowed Airway, Male, Age, Hypertension, Diabetes, Use of Alcohol, drugs, sedatives, genetics, anatomy.

Consequences of Untreated OSA

  • Hypertension, Stroke, Heart Failure, Diabetes, Weight gain, Morning headaches, Irritability and depression, Daytime sleepiness, Impaired memory and concentration, impotence, traffic and work accidents, and reduced quality of living.

OSA & Cardiovascular Disease

  • Up to 60% of patients with sleep apnea have hypertension
  • Acute coronary syndrome, 40 to 50 % have OSA
  • Heart Failure
  • Sudden Cardiac death
  • Stroke

OSA & Diabetes

40% of people with diabetes have OSA. Sleep deprivation increases blood glucose, insulin resistance associated with type 2 diabetes

  • Being overweight interferes with insulin ability to propel sugars from digested foods across cell membrane, therefore, diabetes results when glucose builds up in the bloodstream and can’t be used in the body.
  • Patients that stop breathing more than 10 times per hour or more are more likely to have impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes.

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The information is intended only for residents of Canada.

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