Overview

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes breathing to be disrupted during sleep. This happens when the tissues in the throat soften and collapse, obstructing the upper airway. When your airway is obstructed and you can’t breathe, your oxygen levels decrease, causing your body to wake up and attempt to restart your breathing.

With OSA, you might wake up briefly and frequently. Even if you don’t consciously register that you are waking up, your body might wake up hundreds of times throughout the night. This pattern interrupts your sleep cycle and can cause excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue, although not everyone with OSA experiences daytime sleepiness.

OSA can be related to other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.