About Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Background information on obstructive sleep apnoea, including common symptoms and associated risks.

What is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)?

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a sleep condition characterised by the intermittent partial or entire obstruction of the upper airway. This occurs when the muscles in back of your throat relax, narrowing or closing the airway when you breathe in. This causes cessation of breathing (apnoea) or under-breathing (hypopnea).

What are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea?

Many adults with OSA have no recollection of stopping breathing during the night. However, most have one or more of the following symptoms:

What are the causes of obstructive sleep apnoea?

The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnoea is excess weight and obesity. Other risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea include:

What are the degrees of severity of obstructive sleep apnoea and what is AHI?

Severity of obstructive sleep apnoea is often measured using the apnoea hypopnea index (AHI). AHI is the number of apnoeas (complete blockages of the airways) or hypopnoeas (partial blockages of the airways) recorded per hour of sleep. It is generally expressed as the number of events per hour. As a guide:

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