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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep disorder, making up 84% of sleep apnoea diagnoses.1 The World Health Organisation estimates that over 100 million adults suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea worldwide.2

 

What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?

If you have OSA, it means your upper airway temporarily closes while you sleep, causing you to stop breathing. These periods when your breathing stops (called apnoea) last for at least ten seconds and may happen up to several hundred times a night. The upper airway could become blocked due to:

  • Mouth and throat muscles relaxing too much during sleep
  • Fatty tissue of your neck narrowing the airway
  • Inflamed tonsils, or other temporary reasons
  • Structural reasons, like the shape of the nose, neck or jaw

Snoring occurs when the soft palate and other tissue in the upper airway vibrate.  Although Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is often diagnosed by loud snoring, not everyone who snores has OSA.

 

Who develops Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?

Both children and adults can develop Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

In children, causes of OSA are often structural, meaning that the shape of the jaw, tonsils or a large overbite will block the airway, making it difficult to breathe during sleep. Other factors can include birth defects like Down’s syndrome or even childhood obesity.

 

Although anyone can develop OSA, certain factors can put you at increased risk, including:

  • Obesity/Overweight
  • Large neck circumference
  • Large tonsils
  • Narrowed airway
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Male gender
  • Increasing age
  • Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Anatomical abnormalities
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

Talk to your doctor about getting a sleep test if you’re feeling tired, snoring loudly and/or can’t sleep properly. Discover our ResMed treatment options available for OSA to help you breathe, sleep and get your life back.

References

  1. Morgenthaler TI, Kagramanov V, Hanak V, Decker PA. Complex sleep apnea syndrome: is it a unique clinical syndrome? Sleep 2006;29(9):1203–9
  2. Bousquet J, Khaltaev N. Global surveillance, prevention and control of Chronic Respiratory Diseases. A comprehensive approach. Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases. World Health Organisation. 2007. 

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