To find the answer to the question “How serious is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?” a sufferer should first understand the nature of the disorder and how it affects him. The following paragraphs attempt to explain that. As the incidence of obesity continues to rise, it is expected that the number of people with OSA would rise too. Though it has been frequently mentioned that the disorder is more prevalent in men, some researchers are of the belief that the number of female sufferers have actually been underestimated. Another thing that has been said about OSA is that it should be treated as early as possible.
About Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OSA is a sleeping disorder marked by recurrent periods of upper airway collapse when the person is asleep, leading to a reduction in oxygen and causing the sufferer to partially awaken to gasp for air. Unfortunately when the sufferer awakens, he would have no memory of these episodes though he may experience excessive sleepiness and fatigue all through the day. His partner, however may have noticed the episodes along with his loud snoring.
Very Serious Condition
Owing to the breaks in oxygen flow, OSA can lead to grave complications, one of the possible complications being stroke. According to a news report released just last month, Texas researchers have created a new model that imitates OSA in humans. Research with the model has revealed that just 30 days of OSA exposure causes alteration of cerebral vessel function, which can lead to stroke. Some other possible complications of OSA are outlined below:
Daytime tiredness – Sufferers may feel so sleepy during the day that they may fall asleep while eating, watching TV or at work. They may even fall asleep while driving their car, which is dangerous.Eye diseases – Certain eye diseases such as papilledema (optic nerve swelling) and glaucoma may be caused by obstructive sleep apnea. However, once the sleep disorder is treated, the eye disease would also be resolved.Cardiovascular complications – Sudden fall in oxygen levels in the blood because of the disorder cause hypertension, thereby putting pressure on the cardiovascular system and increasing the chances of heart failure. OSA sufferers stand a greater chance of developing atrial fibrillation or other irregular heart rhythms. If the person already has heart disease, the repeated drops in oxygen levels could lead to swift death from a cardiac event.Greater resistance to insulin – This would be the case whether the patient is diabetic or not.Mental problems – Can cause memory problems, irritability, behavioral problems, poor concentration and difficulty in thinking clearly.Treatment for Sleep Apnea
However serious obstructive sleep apnea is, the good news is that it is treatable. Moderate to extreme OSA can be surgically corrected. To learn more about plastic surgery for the problem, contact a plastic surgeon who is an expert in providing treatment for OSA.