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What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea And How Do You Know If You Have it?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is considered perhaps the most common sleep disorder in the world. It affects 50-70 million adults annually, and can range in severity from annoying to gravely impairing. Today we will cover some of the fundamentals of OSA, what it is and what causes it, how you can determine if you have it, and explain how a quick visit to Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists can help you find long-term relief.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

OSA is a subcategory of apneas that occurs when your normal breathing cycle is interrupted during sleep. The interruptions themselves, clinically known as hypopneas, can last for a 10 seconds or more, and they repress the amount of oxygen your body takes in. Generally, these interruptions are caused by full or partial blockages in the air passageways of the mouth and nose.

Generally speaking, OSA is distinguished into three categories of severity, each of which is calculated by an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) that measures the average number of interruptions you experience per hour:

  • Severe OSA: more than 30 episodes per hour 
  • Moderate obstructive sleep apnea: between 15 and 30
  • Mild obstructive sleep apnea: between 5 and 15

Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Knowing if you have OSA requires both basic ability to know its tell-tale symptoms and an understanding of risk factors involved that may increase one’s susceptibility to it.

Typical symptoms of OSA include:

  • Snoring
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Shortness of breath upon waking
  • Morning headache and grogginess
  • Fatigue throughout the day
  • Depression
  • Difficulty remembering things and maintaining attention

If left unattended, OSA can eventually contribute to an increased risk of experiencing more complicated health problems like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and more.

OSA can afflict anyone at any age, though its predominance is in middle-age and older adults. Factors that increase one’s risk to OSA are:

  • Family member with obstructive sleep apnea
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Obesity
  • Size of neck
  • Smoking and alcohol use
  • Deviated nasal septum 
  • Nasal polyps

To get a proper diagnosis, however, you’ll likely need to visit a specialist who can provide you with a home sleeping test kit to measure heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns. Unfortunately, many of these test kits do not specify between different kinds of apnea.

In contrast, the proprietary home sleep tests provided by Dr. Mandel at Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists are specially designed to test for OSA and are highly accurate. This is important since a proper and custom-tailored diagnosis will lead to a proper and custom-tailored, minimally invasive OSA treatment, which is critical in ensuring you receive long-lasting relief. 

Beat Sleep Apnea Once And For All

Are you looking for relief from your struggle with Obstructive Sleep Apnea? Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists has a treatment tailor-made just for you. Call us to make an appointment at 954-983-1211, or book online today to learn more about what is obstructive sleep apnea and how you can treat it.