What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. The "apnea" in sleep apnea refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds. OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite efforts to breathe.
Sleep apnea is witnessed when you hear a person who snores throughout the night, stop snoring, appear to hold their breath, gasp and then take a deep breath. What is really happening is that this person's airway is actually completely closed. Their body recognizes the extreme distress and briefly awakens the person. Without the person's knowledge, this can happen hundreds of times each night, keeping the person from getting the sleep needed for good health and to feel refreshed the next day. Click here to watch a video abut sleep apnea.