Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Posted by e-Medical PPT Monday, November 1, 2010
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by obstruction of the upper airway.It is characterized by repetitive pauses in breathing during sleep, despite the effort to breathe, and is usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. These pauses in breathing, called apneas, typically last 20 to 40 seconds.
The individual with Obstructive sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. It is recognized as a problem by others witnessing the individual during episodes or is suspected because of its effects on the body.It is commonly accompanied with snoring.
Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea include unexplained daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, and loud snoring.Less common symptoms are morning headaches; insomnia; trouble concentrating; mood changes such as irritability, anxiety and depression; forgetfulness; increased heart rate and/or blood pressure; decreased sex drive; unexplained weight gain; increased urination and/or nocturia; frequent heartburn or Gastroesophageal reflux disease; and heavy night sweats.
Many people experience episodes of obstructive sleep apnea for only a short period of time. This can be the result of an upper respiratory infection that causes nasal congestion, along with swelling of the throat, or tonsillitis that temporarily produces very enlarged tonsils. The Epstein-Barr virus, for example, is known to be able to dramatically increase the size of lymphoid tissue during acute infection, and obstructive sleep apnea is fairly common in acute cases of severe infectious mononucleosis. Temporary spells of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome may also occur in individuals who are under the influence of a drug  that may relax their body tone excessively and interfere with normal arousal from sleep mechanisms.

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