Obstructive Sleep Apnea, (OSA) is a disease with a potential to end in fatality. Sleep Apnea occurs when the soft tissues of the neck, throat and tongue collapse during sleep, creating an obstruction in the airway of the body. Without a steady supply of oxygen, carbon dioxide rises to dangerous levels. Literally, the sleeper begins to suffocate. Several breathless minutes may pass until the brain snaps into survival mode. The brain fires a command to the body to regulate breathing. The response is a hallmark symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea: the sleeper is jolted into breathing by their own powerful snore, or by the choking and gasping of the body in distress.
These episodes can happen many times each night. Occasionally the sleeper fully awakens, and gains insight into the daily exhaustion and chronic fatigue. Other times, the sleeper may never gain consciousness and sleep through repeated OSA episodes. People who remain unaware of their OSA are at high risk for developing serious complications. Sometimes the presence of OSA is detected immediately by the chronic fatigue experienced during the waking hours. However, when Sleep Apnea continues each night, dangerous cumulative conditions can develop and shorten the sleeper’s life span by roughly 20 years.