Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when something partly or completely blocks your upper airway while sleeping. Pauses or cessation of breathing while sleeping has many long-term effects and can be quite dangerous. 

Risk factors include: 

  • Being overweight
  • Nasal congestion or obstruction
  • Large tonsils and/or adenoids, having a crowded throat, large tongue or small jaw
  • Lung disease, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure
  • Scoliosis or muscle weakness
  • Sedating medicines or alcohol use
  • Hypothyroidism and certain other endocrine (hormonal disorders)

Sleep apnea has been associated with:

  • Heart attacks
  • Convulsions
  • Memory problems
  • Slowed thinking
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • High-speed highway crashes

When other treatments for sleep apnea are unsuccessful or not tolerated by patients, upper airway surgery may be an option. Depending on the location and nature of the airway obstruction, the procedure may be minimally invasive or more complex. 


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