Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The fragmented, disturbed sleep of many middle-aged adults can often be the result of sleep apnea, one of the most dangerous of all sleep disturbances.
Sleep apnea causes a person’s breathing to be interrupted during sleep, leaving a person momentarily choking and gasping for air.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, which affects upwards of 45 million Americans. This is caused by a blockage of the airway due to a collapse of the soft tissue at the back of the throat during sleep.
People with OSA snore and repeatedly experience brief interruptions of breathing (apnea) during sleep. This may occur hundreds of times during sleep, which deprives the brain and other vital organs of life-sustaining oxygen.