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Worried Senior Woman Lying Awake In Bed

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a potentially serious sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep.

There are several types of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. This type of apnea occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. A noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring.

Sleeping trouble

Risk Factors

Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea. However, certain factors put you at increased risk, including:

  • Excess weight
  • Narrowed airway
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Male gender
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Asthma

Signs and Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring
  • Observed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Nighttime sweating
  • Decreased libido

Take Our Sleep Risk Assessment

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Do you snore loudly (loud enough to be heard through closed doors or your bed-partner elbows you for snoring at night)?
  • Do you often feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the day (such as falling asleep while driving or talking to someone)?
  • Has anyone observed you stop breathing or choking/gasping during your sleep?
  • Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure?
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) Over 35?
    Enter your height and weight to calculate your BMI:
  • Please enter a number greater than or equal to 0.
  • Please enter a number greater than or equal to 0.
  • Your BMI will be calculated here.
  • If female, is your neck circumference greater than 16 inches? If male, is your neck circumference greater than 17 inches?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Modified from:
Chung F et al. Anesthesiology 2008; 108: 812-821