Sleep Apnea Syndrome(SAS) Apnea literally means not breathing. There are three varieties of SAS: obstructive, central, or mixed. More than 18 million Americans suffer from this syndrome. It can affect anyone at any age, but overweight, middle-aged males are the most at risk. In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), some portion of the upper airway, i.e. in the nose or more commonly soft tissues in the back of the throat, periodically relax during sleep, causing either total or partial blockage or obstruction of the airway. In central sleep apnea, for some reason, the brain forgets to tell you to breathe and in mixed sleep apnea, there is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea
The most common causes of SAS:
Weight gain - usually 20 pounds or more in a 6 to 12 month period generally resulting in fat accumulation in the neck and around the abdomen. Another physical clue that is highly suggestive of obstructive sleep apnea is a neck circumference of > 17 1/2 inches in men, >16 1/2 inches in women.
Physical abnormalities in the upper airway such as nasal polyps, a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils or adenoids are also common causes of obstructive sleep apnea.
Certain neurological disorders such as strokes and medication side-effects can also cause obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea tends to run in families and the likelihood of developing OSA is higher in males and increases with age.
The long term effects of SAS:
Excessive daytime sleepiness(EDS) due to the lack of REM
and Delta sleep.
Cardiac arrhythmias that usually only during sleep;
daytime EKG's are usually normal.
High blood pressure. Some consider sleep apnea to be the
5th leading cause of high blood pressure.
Greater risk for strokes and heart attacks mostly due to
the untreatable high blood pressure.
Certain cardiac disorders such as heart failure due to the