sleep apnea facts

5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, more formally called Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome (OSAHS), is an extremely dangerous disorder. It is defined as a partial, or complete, collapse of the upper airway during sleep. This temporary obstruction of air causes the sleeper to hyperventilate afterwards, which causes arousal and awakening; this fragmentation is detrimental to the sleep patterns, and consequent alertness of the person affected. OSAHS is a reoccurring condition that can cause serious harm. Although Sleep Apnea is one of the most commonly referenced sleep disorders, not many people understand exactly what it is. Here are five facts that you probably didn’t know about OSAHS:

1. During an episode of OSAHS, the respiratory muscles and the diaphragm become unsynchronized. This friction and excited use of the respiratory muscles is often the cause of sympathetic arousal in persons with the condition. The extreme use of these muscles during slumber creates pressure in the respiratory region which is often directly linked to awakening.

2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome is generally, and finitely, diagnosed through polysomnography, or a sleep study. The sleep study is used to monitor a few different factors relating to sleep: EEG, ECG, pulse oximitry and oronasal airflow. Sleep studies are usually expensive, and labs to conduct these studies are not in abundance.

3. OSAHS can also be diagnosed by filling out questionnaires to assess symptoms. Two of the most common questionnaires used for this purpose are the Berlin questionnaire and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. These two tests assess multiple symptoms: age, weight, hypertension, snoring daytime somnolence, etc.

4. According to, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea/Hypopnoea Syndrome and Hypertension, an article by colleagues Robinson GV, Stradling JR, and Davies RJ, about forty percent of patients who experience the effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome also suffer from Hypertension. Hypertension is more commonly referred to as high blood pressure and is an ever-growing problem in today’s society. Since OSAHS can cause a lot of extra medical issues in patients, is it imperative that medical check-ups are routinely performed.

5. OSAHS can be extremely dangerous for women who are pregnant, and can often have serious side effects on the child. In many cases, mothers who suffer for Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome experience low birth weight in newborns, maternal hypertension during and after pregnancy, and sometimes even pre-eclampsia (hypertension that arises during the pregnancy that directly relates to raised protein in the urine). Mothers who are suffering with OSAHS should be particularly careful because OSAHS, coupled with the possible side-effects can culminate into much larger and more dangerous issues.

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