Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissue in a person’s throat repeatedly collapses and blocks the airway during sleep.
These partial reductions and complete pauses in breathing typically last between 10 and 30 seconds, but can persist for one minute or longer. These pauses can happen hundreds of times a night, leading to abrupt reductions in blood oxygen levels.
The brain alerts the body to its lack of oxygen, causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. The result is a fragmented quality of sleep.
Most people with OSA snore loudly and frequently, with periods of silence when airflow is reduced or blocked. They may make choking, snorting or gasping sounds when their airway reopens.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Increases Your Risk For:
- Heart disease
- Premature death
- High blood pressure
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Acid reflux
- Sexual dysfunction
- Social problems
- Memory problems
Treatments for OSA include CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), surgery and oral appliances. An oral appliance is a small device that fits like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer.
Dr. Haag screens for and assists in the management of OSA. He can select and fit an oral appliance that maintains an open, unobstructed airway in the throat when worn during sleep.