What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition often related to obesity that causes the walls of the throat to collapse together during sleep. When sleep apnea occurs it causes a blockage in the upper airways temporarily reducing or even ceasing breathing for a short period. Depending on the severity of the condition, patients breathing can stop for as little as a few seconds or as long as a few minutes, this can occur hundreds of times a night without the patient even realising there is a problem. Partners may hear choking noises coming from their partner but if the patients already experience snoring then it is often difficult to distinguish between the two.
Research has shown that sleep conditions such as sleep apnea and snoring tend to occur far more frequently patients who have a neck circumference greater than 43 centimetres, and find themselves far more tired throughout the day because of it. Obese patients begin to form a cycle, the lack of sleep is promoting weight gain leaving patients bigger, while the extra weight gain causes greater sleep apnea effects leading to an even greater lack of sleep.