What is obstructive sleep apnea?
occurs when you regularly stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer during sleep.
It can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number of times an hour
that you stop breathing (apnea) or that air flow to your lungs is reduced
(hypopnea). Apnea episodes may occur from 5 to 50 times an hour.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea?
A blockage or
narrowing of the airways in your nose, mouth, or throat generally causes
obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This usually occurs when the throat muscles and
tongue relax during sleep and partially or completely block the airway.
Sleep apnea can also occur if you have bone deformities or enlarged
tissues in the nose, mouth, or throat. For example, you may have enlarged
tonsils. During the day when you are awake and
standing up, this may not cause problems. But when you lie down at night, the
tonsils can press down on your airway, narrowing it and causing sleep
Other factors that make sleep apnea more likely include
using certain medicines or alcohol before bed, sleeping on your back, and being
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