About Sleep Apnea
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat and block the airway during your sleep. Watch the video below to find out more.

Symptoms and health risks of sleep apnea10 Common Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Loud Snoring
“About 50% of people who snore loudly have OSA.”
OSA occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat and block the airway during your sleep. It restricts the flow of oxygen and causes like snoring or gasping.

SOURCE: The National Sleep Foundation | American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
Stop Breathing? Choking / Gasping?
“With sleep apnea, your breathing pauses multiple times during sleep, as high as 100 times per hour.”
Loud snoring alternating an absence of breathing is the hallmark of OSA.
Many people with sleep apnea also experience snorting or gasping during sleep, which occur when the drop in oxygen and rise in carbon dioxide resulting from the closing off of the airway alert the brain to arouse the individual.

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration | American Association for Respiratory Care
Daytime Sleepiness
“Being sleepy can affect you in the same way as drinking alcohol.”
When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow during sleep, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. 
As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

SOURCE: UCLA Health | The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
High Blood Pressure
“People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease - regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits.”
When your sleep is disrupted by sleep apnea, when you’re not breathing, the oxygen level in your body falls and excites receptors that alert the brain.
In response, the brain sends signals through the nervous system and essentially tells the blood vessels to “tighten up” in order to increase the flow of oxygen to the heart and the brain. Thus, your blood pressure goes up.

SOURCE: The National Sleep Foundation
Increased Appetite / Calorie Intake
“Our brains respond differently to unhealthy foods, and less are likely to resist eating them when sleep deprived…”
When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin (feel hungry) goes up and your level of leptin (feel full) goes down, making you feel hungrier than when well-rested.
Also poor sleep and sleep deprivation may increase appetite. Because the psychological manifestations of fatigue, sleep and hunger are similar, we sometimes confuse them.

SOURCE: The National Sleep Foundation
“Studies indicate that two of every three men with diabetes over the age of 65 have sleep apnea”
Breathing difficulties during sleep lead to frequent arousals with the development of impaired glucose control, the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel.
Also, sleep affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.

SOURCE: Physicians’ Weekly | Harvard Medical School | The National Sleep Foundation
Depression & Mood Swing
“One study shows those with OSA were five times as likely to suffer from clinical depression.”
The more frequently people wake at night as a result, the higher the chances of developing depression.
When sleep is disrupted over and over, it can alter brain activity and neurochemicals that affect a person’s mood and thinking. It also can lead to emotional changes, clinical depression or anxiety.

SOURCE: The National Sleep Foundation
Irregular Heartbeat (Atrial Fibrillation)
“The frequency of arrhythmias increases with the severity of the OSA.”
When you stop breathing while you sleep, your heart rate drops and your involuntary reflexes make you startle into a micro-arousal, causing your heart rate to accelerate quickly and makes your blood pressure to rise. In addition, OSA can lead to repeated episodes of lower oxygen levels in the blood, increases in carbon dioxide levels, pressure changes in the chest, and increased inflammation markers in the body, all of which can wreak havoc on heart function.

SOURCE: Ling Zhang, Yuemei Hou, Sunny S Po. Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology Review. Spring 2015. Vol 4, Issue 1 | The National Sleep Foundation
Chronic Acid Reflux (GERD*)
*Gastroesophageal reflux disease
“GERD is the 3rd most common gastrointestinal disorder in the U.S.”
When sleep apnea occurs, changes in pressures within the diaphragm and the chest cavity make conditions favorable for acid reflux.
It is also thought that an episode of apnea could alter digestive processes in a way that disrupts the function of the lower esophageal sphincter.

SOURCE: The National Sleep Foundation | American Sleep Apnea Association
Autoimmune Disease: Fibromyalgia, MS*, Celiac
*Multiple Sclerosis
“People with celiac disease have sleep problems unrelieved by gluten-free diets”
OSA creates a chronic inflammatory state that worsens or incites autoimmune disorders through the main pathways of intermittent hypoxia and sleep deprivation.
Researches show associations between sleep apnea autoimmune diseases:
- Patients with fibromyalgia have a tenfold increase in sleep-disordered breathing, including OSA.
- More than half of MS patients were found to have an elevated risk for OSA.

SOURCE: American Sleep Apnea Association | Victor Rosenfeld. Practical Pain Management. Vol 11, Issue 5, 13 Articles | Mayand Vakil, Steven Park, Anna Broder. Medical Hypotheses. Jan 2018. Vol 110, ppg138-143 | American Academy of Sleep Medicine


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