What is Sleep Apnea?

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is when a person stops breathing repeatedly during sleep. Breathing stops because the airway collapses and prevents air from entering and exiting the lungs. Sleep patterns are disrupted, resulting in excessive sleepiness or fatigue during the day.

What causes the airway to collapse during sleep?

Extra tissue in the back of the airway- such as large tonsils. Decrease in the tone of muscles holding the airway open. The tongue falling backwards and closing off the airway.

What should I do if I suspect I have Sleep Apnea?

See your doctor; evaluation by a doctor specializing in sleep disorders is recommended. Have a sleep study done; a sleep study can provide the doctor with information about how you sleep and breathe. This information will help the doctor determine your diagnosis and treatment options.

What happens if OSA is not treated?

Possible increased risk for:

  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue-related motor vehicle accidents
  • Heart disease and heart attack
  • Decreased quality of life due to stroke

What treatments are available for Sleep Apnea?

The most common treatment is: CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) pronounced “see-pap.” other less common treatments include surgery and oral appliances, which may be effective in certain individuals. Any treatments should include weight loss if needed, exercise, and avoidance of alcohol, sedatives and hypnotics.

Does CPAP therapy work?

CPAP treats Obstructive Sleep Apnea by providing a gentle flow of positive-pressure air through a mask to splint the airway open during sleep.

  • Breathing becomes regular
  • Snoring stops
  • Restful sleep is restored
  • Quality of life is improved

Persons suspecting that they may have OSA should consult a qualified healthcare provider.

Literature concerning OSA that is distributed by MRC Healthcare, Inc., including this brochure, is offered for information purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a healthcare provider.