Apnea means not breathing. In OSA, you may stop breathing for short periods of time. Even when you are trying to breathe, there may be little or no airflow into the lungs. These pauses in airflow (obstructive apneas) can occur off and on during sleep, and cause you to wake up from a sound sleep. Frequent apneas can cause many problems. With time, if not treated, serious health problems may develop.
OSA is more common in men, women after menopause, and people who are over the age of 65. OSA can also occur in children. Treatment for OSA should always be under the guidance of a sleep specialist doctor or Obstructive sleep apnea specialist doctor. People who are at higher risk of developing sleep apnea include those with:
- Enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids
- Family history of OSA
- Excessive weight – obesity
- Jaw problems such as micrognathia (small jaw) or retrognathia (a pulled back jaw)
- Chronic Alcoholics