Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disease characterized by episodes of complete or partial collapse of the upper airways during sleep. It has been estimated that 2-4% of the adult population has it. Symptoms of OSA include loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, and apneas (breathing pauses) witnessed by a bed partner. Risk factors for OSA include obesity, an abnormal jaw structure, and having a crowded oropharynx (the area around the tonsils).
OSA has long-term health risks, including hypertension.

The usual treatment for OSA in adults is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP):
http://familydoctor.org/791.xml.

OSA is becoming increasingly more common in children. It used to be that most cases of OSA in children were due to adenotonsillar enlargement; the OSA could usually easily be cured by surgically removing the adenoids and tonsils. Now obesity is causing many cases of pediatric OSA and there are a lot of children on CPAP. This article http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4059357.stm discusses OSA in obese children.

OSA, in both adults and children, is usally diagnosed by an overnight polysomnogram (sleep study). Airflow, depth of sleep, and blood oxygen levels are closely monitored during a polysomnogram. Polysomnograms are a little different in children as compared to adults (for example, different criteria for measuring breathing pauses). Unfortunately, many sleep labs lack experience in diagnosing and treating childhood OSA.

If you suspect that you or a family member has OSA, you should discuss referral to an accredited sleep center with your primary care doctor. This site can help you find an accredited sleep center: http://www.aasmnet.org/listing.asp

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh man, those CPAPs are uncomfortable. After a few years of use I went for the surgery - they took out my tonsils and did something to my uvula. Didn't help, so I stayed on CPAP. Then I lost 70 pounds. As long as I sleep on my side, I don't need the machine.

I don't think the surgey was wasted, though. My cousin was thin as a rail and also needed it.

Anonymous said...

I saw a link about that on http://www.Comfortable-CPAP.com yesterday that made it sound like you would do better finding it online.

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Anonymous said...

I have OSA and have had 4 sleep studies:baseline,cpap and two with an oral mouthpiece which is supposed to help but to no avail.The back of my mouth is small and there lies the problem.The only avenue left is a process i saw in severly obese people who are having surgery to make their stomachs smaller,which is a hole in the neck (tracheotomy),which i am not even thinking of.Between excessive tiredness,fibro myalgia,memory loss,and body pain(where fibro doesn't cover but the sleep apnea is)a weight gain of 185(normal)to 230 is what i have to deal with and future health problems.

PStephen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

You can also read more information about what is sleep apnea here: what is sleep apnea.

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