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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is it?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition that occurs only during sleep. OSA sufferers experience repeated complete or partial closure of their throat (pharynx or airway) while they sleep. This airway closure leads to reduced depth of breathing and periods of breathing cessation. These episodes can last between 10 seconds to over a minute, causing a fall in the oxygen levels in the blood as a result. These disturbances to breathing lead to interruptions in sleep called an arousals. Arousals can be as quick as 3 seconds in duration but they disrupt the sleep cycle. You may not be aware of these as they may not wake you fully out of your sleep. These periods of obstruction are called events and can happen many times (sometimes hundreds) throughout the night. The disruption to the normal sleeping cycle can cause fatigue, headaches, difficulty focusing on daily tasks, irritation and may also be linked with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms and diabetes.

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