Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common sleep disorder. It affects more than 12 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. When a person suffers from OSA, the muscles in their throat relax during sleep and this makes breathing difficult. The brain senses the breathing difficulty and will wake the person up to resume breathing. If the brain wakes the person many times throughout the night, this can result in fragmented sleep with poor quality. Untreated OSA can lead to many medical problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and depression. But adequate treatment can reduce or eliminate these risks. In many cases, the patient feels the benefits, such as reduced sleepiness and better mood, quickly after treatment begins.

Symptoms of OSA

  • Snoring
  • Snoring interrupted by pauses, then gasps, is a sign that breathing stops and restarts. Sometimes, patients will remember waking up short of breath or gasping
  • Falling asleep at the wrong times, such as at work or while driving
  • Trouble concentrating, or becoming forgetful, irritable, anxious, or depressed
  • Morning headaches or nausea, frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate at night, and loss of interest in sex

In Children

  • Being overweight or having enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids
  • Certain birth defects that affect the size and shape of the throat, face, or chin such as Down Syndrome
  • While asleep, children with OSA may snore or squeak, or have difficulty breathing
  • Older children who have OSA may seem sluggish and may perform poorly in school. Sometimes they are labeled "slow" or "lazy"
  • Some cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, or crib death) may be due to OSA, although how often this is true is still uncertain and research continues

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Treatment Options

Take the Sleep Apnea STOP-BANG Questionnaire

We proudly conduct our Sleep Studies at the Northside Hospital Sleep Disorder Center which is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and has four convenient locations in Atlanta, Cherokee, Forsyth, and Roswell. For more information please visit northside.com/sleep.

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