Obstructive sleep apnea


Obstructive sleep apnea is the common respiratory condition linked to sleep. During sleep, it leads to recurrent interruptions of breathing. On average, individuals with this condition experience episodes where their breathing is obstructed for more than ten seconds at least five times per hour of sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent of the many forms of sleep apnea. This kind of sleep apnea happens when the muscles in your throat periodically relax and close off your airway. Snoring is an audible symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.

There are remedies for obstructive sleep apnea. Utilizing a device that employs positive pressure to keep your airway open while you sleep is one therapy option. Another choice is to use a mouthpiece to forward your lower jaw as you sleep. Surgery may also be a possibility.

Types of obstructive sleep apnea

According to the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), a measuring and classification system, obstructive sleep apnea can range from mild to severe. Your average number of apnea and hypopnea episodes per hour of sleep is measured by the AHI. Each type can be described as follows:

  • Mild obstructive sleep apnea: AHI occurs between 5 to 15 times per hour.
  • Moderate obstructive sleep apnea: AHI occurs between 15 to 30 times per hour.
  • Severe obstructive sleep apnea: AHI occurs more than 30 times per hour.


Obstructive sleep apnea signs and symptoms include

  • Snoring loudly
  • Sudden awakenings that come with choking or gasping
  • Seen instances of stopped breathing while sleeping
  • Having a painful throat or dry mouth when you wake up
  • Headache in the morning
  • Oversleeping at day time
  • Having trouble focusing during the day
  • Mood swings like irritation or depression
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Reduction in sex drive (libido)

If you or your partner encounter any of the subsequent symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention:

  • Pauses in breathing when sleeping
  • Snoring that is excessively loud and interferes with others’ or your sleep
  • Gasping for breath or choking when awaken
  • Being overly sleepy during the day, which could cause you to nod off while working, watching television, or even operating a vehicle.

Not all individuals who snore have obstructive sleep apnea, and snoring by itself does not always indicate an underlying issue that requires attention.

Immediate consultation with your doctor is highly recommended if you experience loud snoring, particularly when accompanied by intermittent periods of silence. When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your snoring typically gets louder when you sleep on your back and gets quieter when you sleep on your side.

If you are experiencing persistent feelings of tiredness, sleepiness, or irritability due to sleep-related problems, it is recommended to consult your doctor. Excessive daytime sleepiness could potentially be attributed to conditions such as narcolepsy or other underlying illnesses, and a medical evaluation can help determine the cause and provide appropriate guidance.


When the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much, it causes obstructive sleep apnea, which prevents normal breathing. The tongue, tonsils, uvula, and soft palate are all supported by these muscles.

Your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in when the muscles relax, making breathing difficult for ten seconds or longer. Your blood’s oxygen saturation may decrease as a result, and carbon dioxide levels may rise.

When your breathing becomes hindered, your brain detects it and momentarily wakes you up so you can reopen your airway. Usually, you don’t remember this awakening because it was so fleeting.

Upon awakening, you may notice brief episodes of breathlessness that rapidly resolve themselves, typically with just one or two deep breaths, accompanied by snorting, coughing, or gasping sounds. Throughout the night, this cycle may repeat itself anywhere from five to thirty times or even more per hour. These interruptions prevent you from achieving deep and restorative sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness.

Obstructive sleep apnea sufferers may not be aware of their disrupted sleep. Many individuals with this form of sleep apnea are unaware that they have not had a restful night’s sleep.

Risk factors

Obstructive sleep apnea can occur in anyone. However, some elements put you at higher danger, such as:

  • Gender. Obstructive sleep apnea is typically twice or three times as common in men than in premenopausal women. After menopause, obstructive sleep apnea in women becomes more common.
  • Old age. While the risk of obstructive sleep apnea rises with age, it seems to level off between the ages of 60 and 70.
  • Having a history of sleep apnea in the family. A family history of obstructive sleep apnea may make you more susceptible.
  • Asthma. The risk of obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to asthma, according to research.
  • Being overweight. Obstructive sleep apnea patients tend to be overweight, but not always. Breathing difficulties may be caused by fat accumulation around the upper airway. Obstructive sleep apnea can also be brought on by medical diseases connected to fat, such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Narrowed airway. Your airways may be inherently narrow if so. Or your adenoids or tonsils could enlarge and obstruct your airway.
  • Having nasal congestion for a long time. Regardless of the cause, obstructive sleep apnea is twice as common in people who have regular nighttime nasal congestion. Narrowed airways may be to blame for this.
  • Increased blood pressure. People with hypertension frequently get obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Smoking. Obstructive sleep apnea is more prevalent in smokers.
  • Diabetes. People with diabetes may experience increased obstructive sleep apnea.