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Sleep Apnea, OSA, Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Image of Sleep Apnea Patient: Mike has been experiencing daytime sleepiness and a sort throat, while his wife complains of him being restless and snoring at night... This is Mike. For a period of time, he has been experiencing daytime sleepiness and a sore throat. Also, his wife complains of him being restless and snoring at night. He is unaware that he has Sleep Apnea. He is not alone. In fact, an estimated 18 million people in the U.S. alone are affected by this sleep disorder, many of whom are undiagnosed.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a patient’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. Patients with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. It is mostly common in patients with diabetes, loss of mental capacity, heart failure and other forms of cardiac and pulmonary disease.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common between the three. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses during sleep. Central sleep apnea is caused by no blockage of the airway, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center. It is usually observed in patients with central nervous system dysfunction, such as with stroke victims or in patients with neuromuscular diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Mixed apnea is simply a combination of the two types. Risk factors for sleep apnea include being male, overweight and over the age of forty. However, it can affect anyone at any age, even children.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Some patients with obstructive sleep apnea complain that they wake up with a sore and/or dry throat. They may, on occasion, wake up with a choking or gasping sensation and sometimes seem to wake themselves up with their own snoring. Due to fragmented sleep, a patient with obstructive sleep apnea often reports sleepiness during the day. Other symptoms may include morning headaches, forgetfulness, mood changes and a decreased interest in sex. Patients with central sleep apnea often report recurrent awakenings or insomnia, although they may also experience a choking or gasping sensation upon awakening.

OSA 30 sec

BioCapture Software Collect Screenshot
click for larger image
This picture shows an example of an apnea event while a patient is sleeping. Toward the left of the picture, the green and purple channels, which monitor airflow, flatten. The patient has paused breathing. The right side of the picture shows normal breathing.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

CleveMed’s Division of Sleep Disorders offers wireless PSG systems that aid in accurate diagnosis which lead to better treatment of sleep disorders such as Sleep Apnea. During the diagnostic process, a polysomnography is conducted which is a sleep lab test. A sleep technologist puts electrodes and censors on the patient to measure brainwaves, breathing and movements while the patient sleeps. The Crystal Monitor® PSG Series, Sapphire PSG, SleepScout, and SleepView®, all come with the Crystal PSG™ software, a sophisticated software package for data acquisition, scoring and reporting.

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