01 October 2015


The American Sleep Association is hosting its annual Sleep Apnea Awareness Week, an international effort to raise public awareness about Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which takes place October 1 through 7.

OSA is a sleep disorder characterized by repetitive pauses in breathing due to mechanical obstruction of the airway. Though these airway obstructions or collapses are brief and temporary, they can persist, one after the other, over the course of the entire night, leading to a multitude of problems from hypoxemia (low blood oxygen) to exacerbation of diabetes, hypertension, increased likelihood of stroke and more.

People with OSA are more likely to have motor vehicle accidents, one of the reasons why the commercial trucking industry is asked to test its drivers regularly, as drowsy driving-related accidents happen at an alarming rate in this country and often involve commercial vehicle drivers.

OSA is not rare: it's estimated that more than five percent of all adults suffer from it, with many of them undiagnosed and untreated. About one percent of children are affected as well. Most individuals affected by the disorder are still not diagnosed.

If you suspect you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, the appropriate action to take is to discuss your observations with a physician, who will likely arrange for a sleep study in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

Treatments vary widely but the most common--and most effective--is use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. Treated individuals often reclaim energy and alertness, improve their hypertension and see a reduction in complications to their health caused by OSA.

For more information