What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, known as OSA or just 'sleep apnea', is a respiratory condition that affects men, women and children while they sleep.
The muscles that hold the upper airway open, normally relax during sleep. For those with sleep apnea, these muscles relax so much that they narrow the airway and may even block it completely. When this happens, air cannot get through and the brain alerts the body to wake up. People often wake up making a choking sound as they gasp for air.
These pauses in breathing (or apneas) can happen several times every hour during the night, putting stress on the entire body—including the heart. The build up of sleep and oxygen deprivation affects your overall health and wellbeing during the day.