Sleep apnea - obstructive; Apnea - obstructive sleep apnea syndrome; Sleep-disordered breathing; OSA
A person who has obstructive sleep apnea often is not aware of the apnea episodes during the night. Often, family members witness the periods of apnea.
A person with obstructive sleep apnea usually begins snoring heavily soon after falling asleep. Often the snoring gets louder. The snoring is then interrupted by a long silent period during which there is no breathing. This is followed by a loud snort and gasp, as the person attempts to breathe. This pattern repeats.
Many people wake up unrefreshed in the morning and feel sleepy or drowsy throughout the day. This is called excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
People with sleep apnea may:
- Act grumpy, impatient, or irritable
- Be forgetful
- Fall asleep while working, reading, or watching TV
- Feel sleepy while driving, or even fall asleep while driving
- Have hard-to-treat headaches
Problems that may occur with this condition:
- Depression that becomes worse
- Hyperactive behavior, especially in children
- Leg swelling (if severe)
Signs and tests
The health care provider will perform a complete history and physical exam. This will involve carefully checking your mouth, neck, and throat. You may be given a survey that asks a series of questions about daytime sleepiness, sleep quality, and bedtime habits.
Other tests that may be performed include:
Arterial blood gases
- Thyroid function studies
Review Date: 09/15/2010
Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.