Reference Article

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep apnea caused by obstruction of the airway.

It is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep.

These episodes, called apneas (literally, "without breath"), each last long enough that one or more breaths are missed, and occur repeatedly throughout sleep.

In obstructive sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow, despite the effort to breathe.

The individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening.

Sleep apnea is recognized as a problem by others witnessing the individual during episodes or is suspected because of its effects on the body.

Symptoms may be present for years, even decades without identification, during which time the sufferer may become conditioned to the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance.

Since the muscle tone of the body ordinarily relaxes during sleep, and since, at the level of the throat, the human airway is composed of walls of soft tissue, which can collapse, it is easy to understand how breathing can be obstructed during sleep.

Although many individuals experience episodes of obstructive sleep apnea at some point in life, a much smaller percentage of people are afflicted with chronic, severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Many people experience elements 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 (such as alcohol) that may relax their body tone excessively and interfere with normal arousal from sleep mechanisms.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Obstructive sleep apnea", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

See the following related content on ScienceDaily:


Related Videos

last updated on 2014-11-28 at 2:30 pm EST

What Are the Treatments for Sleep Apnea?

What Are the Treatments for Sleep Apnea?

Howdini (Apr. 30, 2013) Once you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea, what are the next steps? Dr. Perry Mansfield describes the treatments used for patients with sleep apnea.
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Howdini (Apr. 30, 2013) It's not unusual for people who suffer from sleep apnea to be unaware of it. So, how do you know if you have it? Dr. Perry Mansfield, M.D. explains how sleep apnea is diagnosed.
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Are Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Medical Complications?

What Are Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Medical Complications?

Howdini (Apr. 30, 2013) You've probably heard that snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, but what are the other effects it has on your body? Dr. Mansfield describes the symptoms of sleep apnea and related medical complications.
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Is Sleep Apnea?

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Howdini (Apr. 30, 2013) Are you told you snore at night? Are you wondering if you might suffer from sleep apnea? Dr. Perry Mansfield explains exactly what sleep apnea is.
Powered by NewsLook.com

Related Stories


Share This



Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins