Recognizing Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults: Part 1

Risks of Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common problem that affects the person's breathing during sleep. Apnea means not breathing. The block in airflow (obstruction) is usually caused by the collapse of the soft tissues in the back of the throat (upper airway) and tongue during sleep. Frequent apneas can cause many problems. During a period of time, if not treated, health problems may develop.

OSA is more common in men, women after menopause and people over the age of 65. There are a few other risks for developing sleep apnea:

Symptoms that people may experience during sleep are: 

Symptoms that people may experience while being awake:

Lack of sleep can cause you to fall asleep while driving and result in car accidents. OSA can, with time, cause high blood pressure (Hypertension), heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, or early death.

Author
Andrea G. Espinoza MD Board Certified Pulmonologist Board Certified LifeStyle Medicine

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