After sharing my last sponsored post about snoring and sleep apnea, I realized that this is a situation that many of us are dealing with but we may not have a solid understanding of the issue. I mean, we all have coping mechanisms for dealing with a snoring spouse (watch below for some ideas), but what do we really know about Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

I had the opportunity to interview a sleep expert and learn a little more about the subject.

What is the cause of Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by a partial or complete closure, or obstruction, of the upper airway at the back of the mouth. This closure is caused by something blocking the space, such as the tongue or tonsils, or from the muscles that support this space relaxing to the point of causing an obstruction. These closures cause pauses in breathing, or apneas, stimulating patients to waken and take deep breaths to recover. This can occur hundreds of times per night though most patients only remember waking a few times.

Some examples of the causes of OSA are.  a) excess weight;  b) larger neck circumference;  c) a narrowed upper airway;  d) male gender;  e) increasing age;  f) family history;  g) smoking; h) excessive use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers.  Visit for more information!

Are all ages affected by Obstructive sleep apnea?

All ages can be affected by Obstructive Sleep Apnea though the causes can differ greatly from children to adults. In Children, the primary cause is enlarged tonsils blocking an already small airway and in Adults the causes vary from person to person.  OSA is estimated to affect 4% of males and 2% of females.   Majority of OSA patients are over 40 years of age.   It’s estimated that 1 to 4 percent of children (between 2 and 8 years of age) suffer from OSA.


Is snoring always an indicator of Obstructive sleep apnea?

Snoring is one of the primary symptoms of Obstructive sleep apnea but it is not always seen. Some patients do not snore, or snore very softly which is not noticed by bed partners. Snoring is also a diagnosis, so just because someone snores, doesn’t mean that they are experiencing the pauses in their breathing that occur with the Airway closes.   Almost all OSA patients will snore, but not all snorers will have OSA.

When should someone seek treatment or diagnosis for Obstructive sleep apnea?

Anytime someone is concerned about their sleep quality it is best to be tested for Sleep Disordered Breathing to either rule it in or rule it out before seeking alternative causes to sleep disturbances. Common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea include: Snoring, Daytime fatigue, Falling asleep at inopportune times or feeling the need to nap, waking unrefreshed despite a full night sleep, and/or morning headaches. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is also more common in patients who have High Blood Pressure , Type II Diabetes or who are Obese.

How is Obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be diagnosed from an overnight sleep test. There are 2 main kinds of tests. A home test that you wear overnight in your own bed and it records the information collected to be reviewed by a physician. This test can only be used to confirm Obstructive Sleep Apnea in adults. This is the type of test done through RANA Sleep Care to help our clients understand if they have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  The other type of test is called a Polysomnogram and it is done in a hospital or sleep lab setting. You sleep in the lab and are monitored for the entire night.  This can be used to test for Obstructive Sleep Apnea as well as many other sleeping disorders.

How is it treated?

Depending on the severity of your Obstructive sleep apnea, there are many treatments available. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is considered the gold standard of treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Other treatments include: Dental devices, positional therapy, and lifestyle modifications. A health care provider would be able to assist you in determining the right therapy based on your test results.

Are there different types of cpap machines?

There are 2 main types of CPAP. Standard or fixed pressure CPAP delivers a constant pressure throughout the night. This pressure would be determined by your health care provider. Automatic CPAP has a range of CPAP pressures that can be delivered and the machine is able to adjust based on your airways needs. There are several different manufacturers of CPAP that have their own unique features.

Can Obstructive sleep apnea be “cured” or outgrown?

Depending on the cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, it could possibly be outgrown. This is often seen in children. Also, if the cause is enlarged tonsils or other nasal obstruction, this may be fixed with surgery. Most patients cannot be cured of their Sleep Apnea and it gets worse as we age due to decreased muscle tone which affects the airway.

For more information on determining if you are at risk for sleep apnea, please visit!



Influencer at Kidsumers
Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


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