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Understanding Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Do you feel sleepy all day long or snore very loudly? If the answer to these questions is yes, you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition in which a person suffers interrupted breathing while sleeping. In obstructive apnea, the person’s effort to breathe in causes a suction which makes the windpipe collapse. The air flow gets blocked for a few seconds, making the person struggle for breath. There may be hundreds of episodes on this condition during the night. Sleep apnea is estimated to affect over 20% of the adults and 5-10% of children


in the United States. The possibility of developing the condition increases with age. Generally, there are higher risks of this disease when a person is related to someone who has sleep apnea. Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are



• Loud and chronic snoring with pauses in breathing • Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, depression or irritability • Restlessness during sleep • Night sweats • Morning headaches • Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening • Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue • Gasping and choking sensations • Nocturia • Night-time chest pain


• Insomnia • Sexual dysfunction • Unusual sleeping positions Risks So what are the risks of this disorder of interrupted breathing? If left untreated, this condition can greatly increase the chances of blood pressure, heart disease and cardiovascular diseases among such people. A recent article published in the Huffington Post reported on a study conducted by researchers in Taiwan which found that people diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, particularly women and older individuals. Covering over 20,000 people, the study found the occurrence of osteoporosis was 2.7 times higher among patients with sleep apnea than their counterparts without sleep apnea. According to the researchers, continued episodes of these disrupted sleep disruptions can harm many of the body's systems,


including the skeletal system. As obstructive apnea intermittently deprives the body of oxygen, it can lead to weakening of bones, which increases the risk of osteoporosis. Further deterioration can cause bone fractures, reduced quality of life and even death, says this new study. Medical Treatment Medical treatment - even surgery - is necessary if the condition becomes severe. A polysomnogram or a sleep study (including ECG, EEG, EMG and mouth and nasal airflow examination) is first done to analyze the severity of the condition. The initial phase of treatment procedure may involve wearing a nasal CPAP device. However, if the condition persists, surgical treatment becomes necessary to permanently treat the problem. The surgical procedure for sleep apnea treats the underlying anatomic cause of night-time airway obstruction. Craniofacial plastic surgeons perform the following procedures to treat obstructive apnea


• Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) • Tracheostomy • Tonsillectomy • Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) • Hyoid myotomy • Genioglossus advancement •

Distraction osteogenesis

Mild to moderate sleep apnea can be treated with home remedies, simple exercises, and certain lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, cutting down of caffeine and heavy meals, and keeping regular sleep hours.

Understanding obstructive sleep apnea (osa)