Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs more commonly in men than women and is caused when the airways collapse or become blocked, effectively stopping the ability to breathe. This happens at night when the individual is asleep, resulting in multiple times that the individual is forced to wake up or partially wake up to restore normal breathing. However, and surprising to many people, they don’t remember the breathing problem or the waking up.
The muscles of the tongue and throat naturally relax when we sleep, but for those with OSA the relaxation allows causes the skin and muscle at the back of the throat to drop, restricting or blocking the air passage.
The signs of OSA are often difficult to identify if you sleep alone. The most common symptom is heavy snoring, often with periods of breath stoppage and then rapid breathing or a sensation of choking. Other symptoms can include a chronic dry mouth, difficulty in remaining awake during the day, memory and focus problems, headaches and possibility restless sleep habits.