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Snoring, sleepiness and sleep apnea
Snoring is a common complaint related to sleep. Almost all patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) snore, but only a small proportion of all snorers have OSA.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by repetitive collapse of the upper airway during sleep. This results in obstructive apneas (temporary cessation of breathing) or hypopneas (overly shallow breathing) which causes intermittent hypoxemia and arousals leading to excessive daytime sleepiness among a multitude of symptoms listed below.
Who develops sleep apnea?
Sleep apnoea is much more common than was previously thought. It is the second most common treatable respiratory illness after asthma. People at risk of suffering from sleep apnea are male, obese and of advancing age.
Obesity remains the strongest risk factor for OSA. In Ireland, there is an alarming lack of awareness of appropriate body size. A person is overweight if their BMI is more than 25, and obese if their BMI is more than 30. The prevalence of OSA in obese patients is as high as 45%. A neck circumference or shirt size greater than 17 inches in a male or 16 inches in a female complements obesity as a risk factor for OSA.
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