Sleep apnea

Women over 50 who snore face an elevated risk of sleep apnea

A new study from Tel Aviv University found that women aged 55 and over who snore are at increased risk for sleep apnea, which can be fatal. The researchers warn that, in most cases, because the phenomenon occurs during sleep, ...

Overweight & Obesity

Weight loss and lifestyle program cuts severity of sleep apnea

An interdisciplinary weight loss and lifestyle intervention is associated with clinically meaningful and sustainable improvements in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) severity and health-related quality of life, according to ...

Cardiology

UK cases of atrial fibrillation are at all-time high 

The number of people living with atrial fibrillation—a dangerous heart condition and major cause of stroke—has increased by 72% in England over the last two decades, according to new research.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Risky driving behaviors increase as common sleep disorder worsens

People with sleep apnea wake up tired in the morning, no matter how many hours they actually sleep. The condition causes them to briefly stop and restart breathing dozens or even hundreds of times a night. Even though such ...

Medications

Drug reduces frequency of breathing pauses in sleep apnea

A new University of Gothenburg study has paved the way for the first drug treatment for sleep apnea. Compared to before receiving the treatment, breathing pauses decreased with on average more than 20 per hour for patients ...

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Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea (or sleep apnoea in British English) is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Each episode, called an apnea (Greek: ἄπνοια (ápnoia), from α- (a-), privative, πνέειν (pnéein), to breathe), lasts long enough so that one or more breaths are missed, and such episodes occur repeatedly throughout sleep. The standard definition of any apneic event includes a minimum 10 second interval between breaths, with either a neurological arousal (a 3-second or greater shift in EEG frequency, measured at C3, C4, O1, or O2), a blood oxygen desaturation of 3-4% or greater, or both arousal and desaturation. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or a "Sleep Study".

Clinically significant levels of sleep apnea are defined as five or more episodes per hour of any type of apnea (from the polysomnogram). There are three distinct forms of sleep apnea: central, obstructive, and complex (i.e., a combination of central and obstructive) constituting 0.4%, 84% and 15% of cases respectively. Breathing is interrupted by the lack of respiratory effort in central sleep apnea; in obstructive sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow despite respiratory effort. In complex (or "mixed") sleep apnea, there is a transition from central to obstructive features during the events themselves.

Regardless of type, the individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. Sleep apnea is recognized as a problem by others witnessing the individual during episodes or is suspected because of its effects on the body (sequelae). Symptoms may be present for years (or even decades) without identification, during which time the sufferer may become conditioned to the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance.

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