Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Subject: Health Care
Type: Exploratory Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 1256
Topics: Disease, Health, Medicine, Nursing, Universal Healthcare


Obstructive Sleep Apnea results in sleeping complications among individuals. This sleeping disorder is the most prevalent form of Sleep Apnea. The disorder affects the respiratory system of individuals during their sleep since it causes breathing difficulties. The upper respiratory part of the body includes organs such as the throat and the trachea.  The condition occurs when the upper respiratory tract is blocked by tissues preventing the inhalation of air. The blocking of the upper respiratory tract strains the opening and closing of the diaphragm. The difficulty in the opening and closing of the diaphragm further results to difficulties in the expansion and contraction of the chest muscles. The lungs are unable to pull in the air that is inhaled since the chest muscles are not effective in contracting and expanding. The condition affects the upper respiratory part of human beings resulting to complications in the lower respiratory tract of the body. The inefficiency in the expansion and contraction of the chest muscles and the diaphragm causes individuals to breathe deeply and loudly during their sleep. The loud breathing usually referred to as snoring helps in pulling in the air into the lungs when the upper respiratory tract of the body is affected by this condition. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a health concern in the United States.


The risk factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea include age, gender, genetic structures, ethnicity, and obesity. The consumption of alcohol and smoking of cigarettes is a major risk factor for the occurrence of the disease in individuals.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea affects more men than women. The prevalence of the disease in the American population is 7%. Different individuals from different social, age, gender and ethnic groups are affected differently by the disease. The disease affects approximately 7% of the total male population in the country. The disease affects approximately 5% of the total female population in the country. The disease affects individuals from minority groups such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians more than the White Americans. Obesity results in cardiovascular complications. Individuals with obesity are more likely to be affected by the disease than healthier individuals. Cardiovascular complications result in breathing difficulties at times. The disease is prevalent in developed countries such as the United States as well as in developing countries. 

Research surveys indicate that the prevalence of the disease among individuals that are over 65years is approximated at 50%. The prevalence level implies that half of the individuals that are above 65yeears have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The prevalence of the disease in adults is approximated at a maximum of 17% and a minimum of 6%. The prevalence of the disease is higher in older individuals than in adults and children.

Obesity and overweight is a major contributor to the prevalence of the disease since most individuals with obesity suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Research surveys indicate that the prevalence of this disorder in individuals with obesity is approximated at 60%.


The disease affects the upper respiratory part of the human body. Tissues fall into the throat of an individual during sleep blocking the inhaled air from passing into the lungs. The tissues block the passage of oxygen through the trachea. The collapse of the tissues that make up the throat walls results in the fall of the soft tissue into the throat. An individual tends to breathe in less air since the respiratory tract cannot inhale adequate oxygen due to collapse and failure of various respiratory organs in the upper and lower sections. The inadequate supply of air through the Trachea causes the collapse of the Diaphragm’s muscles. The diaphragm does not expand and contract as it normally does. The chest muscles due to the inadequate supply of air from the upper respiratory tract contract and expand in abnormal patterns. The abnormal contraction and expansion of chest muscles cause the lungs to strain a lot in the process of pulling in air. The difficulty in the expansion and contraction of the lungs results to loud and deep breathing during sleep.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea results in chronic complications in an individual’s respiratory system during sleep. Reduced muscle activity during sleep causes the narrowing of the respiratory tract and organs. The narrow upper respiratory tract minimizes the inflow of air into the lungs. The pharynx acts as a link to the nasal cavity from the mouth, and it helps a lot in the passage of air inhaled into the lungs. The change in the patterns of the opening and closing of the pharynx result to uneven distribution of air into the lungs. Individuals cannot know when they are experiencing this condition during their sleep. At times individuals are awakened by the difficulties in breathing due to the loud sounds that they make during sleep. The low inflow of air through the pharynx results to inadequate oxygen in the lungs hence decline in the oxygen levels in the human body. The levels of carbon IV oxide in the human body increase during episodes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Carbon IV oxide is not exhaled efficiently since the narrow respiratory tract strains the release of carbon IV oxide from the body.

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There are different forms of treatment that are used to solve Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Doctors advise the adoption of healthy lifestyles. Healthy lifestyles include quitting cigarette smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Other treatment strategies applied by doctors include physical interventions and taking of medication.

Prescription of medication

Doctors prescribe drugs for individuals with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Drugs such as fluoxetine and paroxetine help in reducing the effects of this sleep disorder. Proxetine treats anxiety complications in individuals that result in breathing complications during sleep. Doctors use other drugs such as tryptophan and acotazolamide to treat the sleeping disorder. Tryptophan helps in losing weight and increasing energy in the human body. The drug helps individuals to sleep well without any breathing complications.

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Surgery is performed on the respiratory tract or specific respiratory organs. The surgery helps in the removal of unwanted tissues in the respiratory tract, especially in the pharynx.  Surgery is more applicable when the condition is diagnosed as severe and other forms of treatment cannot treat the condition in its chronic state. The tongue muscles and the lower jaw can be adjusted through surgery to ensure that the tongue does not cover the passage of air. Surgery is not advisable by doctors in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea since it is complicated and expensive as compared to other forms of treatment. 

Physical intervention

Doctors use air supply machines that pump in the air into the lungs of patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The machines pump in the air by exerting pressure to the air passage of patients by forcing air through the mouth and the nose. The pressure exerted by the machine on the respiratory tract opens up the narrow air passages that result from blockage by tissues. The use of the pressure exerting machine is the commonly used form of treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a health concern in the country. Statistics from different surveys indicate that the prevalence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea varies in different sections of the American population. The prevalence rates vary based on gender, ethnicities, age groups, body weight and genetic composition of individuals. The disease is caused by the failure and collapse of different respiratory organs hence the narrowing of the passageway for air. Hospitals have availed different forms of treatment that solve and correct the disorder in patients.

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  1. Barnes L (editor) (2009). Surgical pathology of the head and neck (3rd ed.). New York: Informal healthcare
  2. Ezzedini R, Darabi M, Ghasemi B, Darabi M, Fayezi S, Moghaddam YJ, et al. (2013). “Tissue fatty acid composition in obstructive sleep apnea and recurrent tonsillitis”. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngol, 77 (6): 1008–12
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff (August 2, 2017). Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Mayoclinic.org, Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obstructive-sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352090
  4. US Preventive Services Task Force (2017). “Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement”. JAMA, 317 (4): 407–414
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