Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most well-known sleep-related breathing condition whose noticeable sign is snoring. OSA is caused by repetitive episodes of obstruction and upper airway breakdown during sleep linked to stimulation from sleep with or short of oxygen desaturation (Rundo, 2019). Obstructive sleep apnea makes individuals recurrently stop and resume breathing while they sleep. This sleep-related disorder occurs when muscles that maintain the soft tissues at the back of a person’s throat, such as the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and tongue, relax too much, hindering normal breathing. When these muscles temporarily relax, a person’s airway is closed or narrowed, and breathing is temporarily cut off. Suffering from OSA may not sleep well, but they are unlikely to realize that it is happening. This sleep disorder is likely to lower oxygen flow in a person’s organs and cause uneven heart rhythms. This paper will discuss the up-to-date information on Obstructive sleep apnea and also discuss the disease pathology, signs, and symptoms as well as the accepted treatment or experimental treatment for Obstructive sleep apnea.

Up to Date Information on Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Today, OSA is reflected as a severe medical condition that requires medical attention. Some of the complications associated with this sleep-related disorder are daytime fatigue and sleepiness; due to lack of adequate restorative night sleep, people suffering from Obstructive sleep apnea often have insomnia, morning headaches, daytime fatigue, drowsiness, and irritability. In addition, these people usually find it challenging to concentrate during the daytime and often fall asleep at work when driving or watching TV.

According to Seneratna et al. (2017), the prevalence of OSA is very high in the overall population. There is a positive effect of the male sex, advancing age, and higher BMI on Obstructive sleep apnea; thus, the prevalence is higher in males, older ages, and individuals with higher BMI. The overall prevalence of OSA from 9%- 38% in the overall adult population, from 6% to 19% in females, and 13% to 33% in males, though much higher in the elderly population. In addition, according to Seneratna et al. (2017), given the effects of aging and high levels and wide disparity in reported prevalence, Obstructive sleep apnea should be looked at as having an incessant range in the general population instead of an illness with dichotomized cut-off points.

Some risk factors associated with OSA include; excess weight, where most people who suffer from OSA are usually overweight. The fat deposits surrounding the upper airway can block breathing leading to OSA. Also, the risk of OSA is higher in older ages and increases as a person grows older. Narrowed airways are another risk factor associated with OSA. In addition, people suffering from high blood pressure are most likely to suffer from OSA. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs mainly in individuals with consistent chronic nasal congestion at night. Other risk factors associated with OSA are smoking, asthma, diabetes, and sex, where men are more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea than women (Mayo Clinic, 2021).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea pathology

OSA is characterized by recurring pharyngeal airway obstruction when an individual is asleep resulting in sleep fragmentation and hypoxia. The pathogenesis of OSA results from the interaction between sleep-related changes in the upper airway function and hostile anatomic upper airway susceptibility. Obstructive sleep apnea is linked to significant comorbidities such as the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and excessive day sleepiness and fatigue.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms associated with OSA include loud snoring, daytime fatigue or sleepiness , dry sore throat or mouth when you wake up, practical episodes of clogged breathing during sleep, sudden awakenings convoyed by choking or gasping, issues with sex, like decreased libido, high blood pressure, night sweats, headaches in the morning, trouble concentrating during the day, restlessness during sleep, difficulty getting up in the mornings, and mood changes such as irritability or depression (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Obstructive sleep apnea signs and symptoms in children may not be as clear, including problems at school, snoring, teeth grinding, bed-wetting, drooling or choking, sweating a lot at night, sluggishness, breathing that stops or pauses, learning and behavior problems.

Accepted Treatments/Experimental Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

OSA is widespread, especially in people with known risk factors and other comorbid conditions. Screening for OSA entails an analysis of the symptoms, sleep history, and physical examination. The information obtained from the screening methods can help to define if a patient needs to be tested for obstructive sleep apnea. Besides, the test results of the home sleep apnea test and polysomnogram test are used in the diagnosis of OSA and its severity (Rundo, 2019). During the physical examination for OSA, doctors usually examine the back of a patient’s throat, nose, and mouth for abnormalities or extra tissue. The doctors may also measure a patient’s waist or neck to check the patient’s blood pressure. There are various available treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. Among these treatments include; treatment that uses a device that employs positive pressure to keep an individual’s airway open while they are asleep. Another choice is to use a mouthpiece to thrust a person’s lower jaw forward as they sleep. In some circumstances, surgery may be an appropriate option. In addition, a device known as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine can be used to avert sleep apnea and eliminate snoring. A CPAP machine prevents snoring and sleep disorders by applying the proper air pressure to a mask. Lately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permitted a new treatment option named the inspire upper airway stimulation device.

Summary of the Major Findings

OSA is a common condition described by hypopneas and obstructive apneas resulting from the repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep. OSA is a serious medical condition. Thus, it must be approached as a chronic illness that requires serious, long-term, multidisciplinary care. OSA often leads to insomnia, morning headaches, daytime fatigue, drowsiness, and irritability. The prevalence of OSA is very high in the overall population, with higher prevalence in males, older ages, and individuals with higher BMI. Some risk factors associated with OSA include; high blood pressure, excess weight, narrowed airways, older age, smoking, chronic nasal congestion, asthma, diabetes, and sex. OSA signs and symptoms include; decreased libido, night sweats, high blood pressure, loud snoring, daytime fatigue or sleepiness, dry sore throat or mouth when you wake up, trouble concentrating during the day, morning headaches, practical episodes of stopped breathing during sleep, and mood changes such as irritability or depression. Available treatment for OSA include; the inspire upper airway stimulation device, a treatment uses a device that employs positive pressure to keep an individual’s airway open while they sleep, use a mouthpiece to thrust a person’s lower jaw forward as they sleep, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.


Mayo Clinic. (2021, July 27). Obstructive sleep apnea. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obstructive-sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352090#:~:text=Obstructive%20sleep%20apnea%20occurs%20when%20the%20muscles%20in%20the%20back,the%20tonsils%20and%20the%20tongue.

Senaratna, C. V., Perret, J. L., Lodge, C. J., Lowe, A. J., Campbell, B. E., Matheson, M. C., … & Dharmage, S. C. (2017). Prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in the general population: a systematic review. Sleep medicine reviews, 34, 70–81. DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2016.07.002Rundo, J. V. (2019). Obstructive sleep apnea basics. Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine, 86(9 Suppl 1), pp. 2–9.