Jackie hears from her roommate that she has disturbed sleep, so she seeks medical attention to find out what's going on.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in adults occurs when a person's airway becomes partially or completely blocked many times during sleep. The result of this interrupted breathing pattern is severely fragmented sleep, as the individual must wake up enough to regain muscle control in the throat and to reopen the airway. This constant awakening means that people with apnea do not get sufficient or good quality sleep, resulting in sleepiness and/or fatigue. But, because OSA sufferers typically do not gain full consciousness when they wake after apnea episodes, they often do not know the cause of their sleepiness and/or fatigue. Along with sleepiness and/or fatigue, OSA can cause significant physiological and psychological distress. OSA is a treatable disorder and, with proper diagnosis and treatment, many people have complete resolution of their symptoms.
This content was last reviewed on November 8, 2010