What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB)?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the airway closes off sufficiently during sleep that breathing stops. This triggers release of cortisol (the “fight or flight” or “survival” stress hormone) that increases heart rate and activates muscles to force breathing. Although the person doesn’t actually wake, they are driven from deep restorative sleep to “catch their breath”. Once they begin to relax to the deeper levels of sleep, it happens all over again.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disordered Breathing present different signs and symptoms in children and adults.
Symptoms of OSA & SDB in Children
- Mouth Breathing
- Enlarged Tonsils/Adenoids
- Facial & Jaw Deformities
- Restless Sleep & Drowsiness During the Day
- Short Attention Span or ADD/ADHD
- Bed Wetting
Signs of Sleep Apnea in Adults
- Snoring that may disrupt the sleep of others
- Gasping, coughing, or choking upon waking up
- Waking with your heart racing
- Waking up tired after a full night’s sleep
- Waking up with a headache
- Feeling very sleepy during the day
- Falling asleep without intending to
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Feeling irritable, short-tempered
- Weight gain, inability to lose weight
- Acid Reflux in adults
Left untreated, sleep apnea increases the likelihood of illness or injury. It has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even death.