Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by an airway blockage (obstruction) during sleep. During the day, muscles in the airway region keep the throat and airway passage open but when a patient has obstructive sleep apnea, the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway and preventing air from getting to the lungs. The site of obstruction in most patients is the soft palate, extending to the region at the base of the tongue.
There are no rigid structures, such as cartilage or bone, in this area to hold the airway open. So as a person with OSA falls asleep, these muscles relax to a point where the airway collapses and becomes obstructed. Although OSA is typically considered an ‘adult’ condition, there is no age boundary and apnea can affect otherwise healthy children. OSA is actually common in children and may, in fact, be the root cause of childhood behavior and attention problems, which are commonly misdiagnosed by other doctors as ADD/ADHD.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Poor or Rapid Breathing during sleep or periods of Not Breathing
- Night Sweats
- Frequent Night Time Urination
- Restless Sleep/Daytime Sleepiness
- Mouth Breathing
- Tooth Grinding
- Jaw Clenching
- Frequent Heartburn
- High Blood Pressure
- Mood Changes
- Trouble Concentrating/Forgetfulness
- Weight Gain
- Decreased Sex Drive
If left untreated, it can have SEVERE complications including but not limited to:
- Heart Attack
- Weight Gain and Obesity
- And even DEATH!