Syndrome of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common disorder. Estimates of u number of Americans with Obstructive Sleep ApneaS vary according to the criteria on which researchers base their study. Nevertheless, the estimates give a lower figure of about 20 million adults. Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs because of upper airway obstruction, which can cause snoring or breathing stops.
Obstruction that occurs during sleep has two main causes: lack of muscle tone and gravity. The excess tissue in the upper airway and anatomical deformities exacerbate the consequences of these factors. During sleep, especially during REM sleep, our body relaxes and muscle tissues, such as the tongue and soft palate for example, lose their rigidity. Because we usually sleep lying down, the effect of gravity causes these tissues to the back of the throat, which closes the upper airway.
Healthy upper airway:
Upper airway obstruction:
Snoring – the most common symptom associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea – occurs when the airway is partially obstructed. When air passes through this limited space, it vibrates the soft tissues of the throat, the uvula and soft palate. These vibrations create the sound we call snoring.
Upper airway partially obstructed:
When they completely block the airway, these tissues prevents the person from breathing in may cause asphyxiation. But he wakes up enough to regain control of his airway and breathing, then he falls asleep. In people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, this phenomenon can occur dozens or even hundreds of times a night, what they do not remember when they wake up.
Each obstruction deprives the body of oxygen and forces it to retain carbon dioxide that it would expel the ordinary course of expiration. Thus, the equilibrium is disturbed blood gases and body exposed to an environment “toxic”. When the body “signals” that it needs more oxygen, the brain wakes the sleeper, breathing resumes and the individual goes back to sleep until the next obstruction. These blockages also cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and possibly weaken the responsiveness “automatic” in the body, resulting in apnea and hypopnea increasingly severe.
Micro-awakenings experienced by people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea also affect the quality of their sleep. What are the symptoms of sleep deprivation that motivate these people to consult their doctor. Symptoms such as excessive daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, poor memory and even depression are common among people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.