What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

OSA is a serious medical condition in which the patient’s airway becomes obstructed, or blocked, during sleep, causing him (or her) to stop breathing during sleep. The site of obstruction is usually in the throat, including the base of tongue, palate, or the nose.

When the airflow to the lungs is reduced, the oxygen levels drop in the blood, and the body fights to correct this. The body then has to pump the heart harder and faster, raising the blood pressure, which puts strain on the heart and blood vessels. If this cardiopulmonary stress continues, the brain will eventually wake the person up in order to restore muscle tone and re-open the airway; this restores the airflow to the lungs.

This may happen many times throughout the night, without the patient being aware of what it. These repeated nighttime awakenings cause the patient to suffer poor sleep throughout the night, which produces excessive tiredness all day. Sleep apnea puts strain on the heart and lungs, and prevents deep sleep, which is needed for the body to rest and recover every night.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can progress and lead to other medical issues, including:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Newer research has revealed that untreated sleep apnea has even more dangerous effects than we previously had thought. Motor vehicle accidents, as well as airline and train incidents have been attributed to operators suffering from sleep apnea. This has actually prompted the FAA to issue a notice to pilots, warning them of the dangers of undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea. Recently, studies have linked sleep apnea to early cognitive decline and dementia.

Contact Us Today!

Scott Anderson, MD
Tampa Sleep Apnea Center
4714 N. Armenia Ave, Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33603

"A division of Select Physicians Alliance"