2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA) - Signs & Symptoms

Hypopnea occurs when there is a partial blockage in the airway. If it is severe enough the obstructed airflow results in a decrease of the oxygen levels in the blood by more than 4%. Hypopnea espisodes can also disrupt sleep patterns but do not generally awaken the patient, as sleep apnea does.

Snoring can be associated with OSA but the often times people with sleep apnea do not snore. An interesting article regarding snoring was published in the journal Sleep, in September 2008. Heavy snoring is linked to carotid artery atherosclerosis. The authors concluded that heavy snoring significantly increases the risk of carotid artery atherosclerosis and the increase is independent of other risk factors, including measures of nocturnal hypoxia and obstructive sleep apnea severity. Carotid artery atherosclerosis means there is potentially less blood flow to the brain.

Obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with the following medical conditions:
Hyperstension (high blood pressure)
Coronary heart disease
Congestive Heart failure
Erectile dysfunction
Renal (kidney) disease
Nocturnal strokes
GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease)

Some signs of OSA:
Headaches on awakening
Excessive daytime drowsiness
Memory problems
Difficulty concentrating
Night time sweating
Chest pain at night
Weight gain
Menstrual irregularities
Grinding teeth

Grinding of teeth or bruxism is an involuntary mechanism the body uses to flex the airway muscles and keep the airway open. This excessive grinding can lead to symptoms of temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Often times, treating OSA with a mandibular advancement device (MAD) can improve TMD. For more information about obstructive sleep apnea, please visit the Canadian Sleep Society website (http://www.css.to) and click on the Education and Information link. To see if you are at risk for OSA please take the Epworth Sleepiness Test (please find survey in Contact Us Section). If you score high, please talk to your physician about getting a sleep study. OSA sufferers are typically unaware of the severity of their condition and it is often very informative in having their bed partner fill out a survey for them. (please see Bed Partner Survey in Contact Us Section) OSA is a medical condition and needs to be diagnosed by sleep physician. Dr. Kang routinely screens his patients for sleep apnea and will advise you to see your physician about a sleep study if you are at risk.