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Half of all men and about one-third of all female adult Americans snore. While snoring alone is not considered a health risk, it can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affecting approximately 18 million Americans. The number of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea patients is likely much higher. In OSA, the throat tissue collapses while sleeping. Such apnea events often occur 20 to 30 times per hour, but in very severe cases even as often as 100 times per hour, resulting in repeated sleep interruptions.
Early recognition and treatment of sleep apnea is important. If untreated, sleep apnea can lead to severe complications, including:
Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea can include:
Patients with OSA need to be evaluated by a specialist. Depending on severity, obstructive sleep apnea usually requires treatment to improve symptoms and to avoid secondary complications. OSA is diagnosed via a sleep study in a lab or sometimes at home.
Sleep apnea treatment options can be divided into non-surgical and surgical therapies.
Non-surgical treatment options include:
Surgical treatment options include:
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