What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are many different types of sleep disorders. The type of sleep disturbance called obstructive sleep apnea is a very specific type.  Thousands of studies show that more than 35% of the population tends to suffer from this type of sleep disorder.  In this sort of sleep disorder there are episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep.  According to most, interrupted breathing during sleep is due to a narrowing of the upper airways.

An easy way to understand the causes and ramifications of the situation in which obstructive sleep apnea occurs is by watching the short video here:

This video discusses obstructive sleep apnea. There are also occurrences of central sleep apnea (in which there is a disturbance in the respiratory center of the brain).  In this article, we will focus on obstructive sleep apnea.

The symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are:

    • Snoring – sometimes, snoring is the earliest stage in the development of obstructive sleep apnea. However, there is not necessarily a connection between this syndrome and snoring. There are people that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea that do not snore. And also the opposite, there are snorers that don’t necessarily develop obstructive sleep apnea.
    • Dry mouth
    • Frequent night awakenings for unclear reasons – in this type of disturbance in obstructive sleep apnea, should you have this symptom, you probably don’t sense awakening during your sleep.
    • Headaches occurring near morning waking time
    • Chronic fatigue and sleepiness in the morning and during the day – For example if you have a tendency of fall asleep in the course of the day at isolated moments/if you have a tendency to fall asleep the moment you have the chance to rest a bit (e.g., while watching television or in the arm chair, etc.).
    • Diminished concentration ability
    • Tendency to greater irritability


  • Weight gain – due to the diminished quality of sleep, people with this syndrome tend to suffer from obesity and inability to lose weight.

Not all the symptoms will necessarily be present in every person.

Since in many cases the patient isn’t aware of their breathing interruptions, as a first step, it is worthwhile to get support by asking the spouse/partner for confirmation in order to arouse suspicion about the situation.

With weight gain here is a firm connection with breathing disturbance; it has been found that one of every three people suffering from obesity also suffer from a sleep disorder.

For men there is a greater likelihood of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea than women.

Obstructive sleep apnea that is not treated in time is likely to lead to a rise in the risk of illness from the following disorders:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart arrhythmias and heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia

In addition to a long list of other illnesses

Therefore, a condition of obstructive sleep apnea that is not treated in time or correctly may constitute a real danger to life.

Want to read more about:

  • Options for treating obstructive sleep apnea? Click here
  • Ways in which sleep apnea is diagnosed? Click here