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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when, during sleeping, your throat walls relax and/or your tongue flops back to block the upper section of the airway. This can lead to a temporary stopping of breathing, known as apnea. This can cause an interruption in …
What causes obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea happens when your throat muscles relax during sleep. These are the muscles that support your soft palate and the uvula. These muscles also support your tonsils, tongue and throat walls. As the throat muscles relax, your airway …
Who gets obstructive sleep apnea?
Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea. Some risk factors can include: obesity, which can lead to obstructive fat forming around the upper airway; genetics, which determine the size of your throat and tonsils; some illnesses, such as nasal congestion; …
How is obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed?
A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea requires the identification of repetitive apneas (stopping of breathing) and the presence of symptoms indicating broken sleep; this commonly includes excessive daytime sleepiness. To help reach this diagnosis, …
How is obstructive sleep apnea treated?
In milder cases of obstructive sleep apnea, lifestyles changes including losing weight, cutting down on alcohol or quitting smoking may help. In more severe cases, there are other treatment options such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), …
Can obstructive sleep apnea be prevented?
In some cases, obstructive sleep apnea can be prevented by making lifestyle changes. These may include maintaining a healthy body weight, quitting smoking and reducing your intake of alcohol and sedatives before you sleep.
Can obstructive sleep apnea run in the family?
If any of your family members have obstructive sleep apnea or you are born with a narrow throat or large tonsils, you have an increased risk of apnea. Other risk factors include the shape of your facial bone (having a small chin), large throat …
Are there different types of obstructive sleep apnea?
The different types of sleep apnea are categorized by how frequently your breathing is interrupted while you sleep: normal - fewer than five interruptions per hour; mild sleep apnea - anywhere between five and 15 interruptions per …
About this article
Author: Dr Bow Tauro PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 22 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Votes: 598 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Obstructive sleep apnea