Understanding Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person experiences pauses in breathing, or very shallow breathing while sleeping. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. As a result of this, sleep quality is poor and patients often complain of fatigue, insomnia and daytime sleepiness. Many times a patient doesn’t realize they have sleep apnea because they are asleep when the events are going on.

Mild sleep apnea is defined by 8-15 events per hour, moderate sleep apnea is defined by 15-35 events per hour, and over 35 events per hour is considered severe. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is generally due to people being overweight but can also occur as a result of enlarged tonsils. Sometimes, allergic rhinitis can contribute to symptoms as well. Sleep apnea increases the risk of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, obesity and heart arrhythmias. It also contributes to work-related and driving accidents.

To learn more about sleep apnea and the treatment options available, please contact us at Annapolis Allergy & Health Enhancement Center.


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