What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a potentially life altering and life threatening disorder that occurs in approximately 4% of men and 2% of women. It is a disorder whereby there is complete or partial obstruction of the airway during sleep. As a result individuals have disrupted sleep which may result in excessive daytime sleepiness and if left untreated may lead to further health related complications. Although OSA is fairly common, it often goes undiagnosed, however due to the morbidity and even some mortality, we need to familiarize ourselves with associated symptoms and available treatment options.
Signs and Symptoms:
Individuals may present with one or several of the following signs and symptoms when screening for possible Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
- (See the Epworth Sleepiness Scale information below)
- Decreased Memory/Concentration
- Morning Headaches
- Waking with a Choke or Gasp
- Personality Changes/Irritability
- Hypertension — elevated Blood Pressure
- Nocturia — frequent nocturnal washroom visits
Positive Airway Pressure
Positive Airway Pressure is the treatment of choice for anyone diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This includes Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Automatic CPAP (AutoPAP) and Bi—Level positive airway pressure (BiPAP).
Your physician will indicate on the prescription which mode of therapy is right for you. Please discuss your options with a trained professional.