Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea (AP-ne-ah) is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.  Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea and is a potentially serious disorder Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and they may occur 30 times or more an hour. After a pause breathing typically starts up as normal breathing again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound. When breathing pauses or becomes shallow, more time is spent in light sleep and less time in the deep, restorative sleep you need in order to be energetic, mentally sharp, and productive the next day.

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone. For example, small children who have enlarged tonsil tissues in their throats may have obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring and feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep is a possible sign that you may have Sleep Apnea.

What Does An Obstructive Airway Look Like?

Normal Airway

During normal sleep, the muscles that control the tongue and soft palate hold the airway open.




                  When these muscles relax, the airway narrows. This can lead to snoring and breathing difficulties.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

If the muscles relax too much, the airway can collapse and become blocked, causing an obstruction.


Sleep apnea is a serious condition and individuals with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) may not be aware they have a problem. If someone close to you has spoken of your loud snoring and has noticed that you often wake up abruptly, gasping for air, seek medical aid. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and breathing devices can successfully treat sleep apnea in many people.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office or visit the university of Alberta website at http:/

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