Patients with obstructive sleep apnea have airways that become blocked during sleep, usually from the collapse of soft tissue in the airways. This causes the patient to stop breathing, resulting in a drop in oxygen levels and sleep deprivation.
In the short term, obstructive sleep apnea causes fatigue and discomfort. In the long term, it can cause more serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes. Snoring and fatigue may indicate undiagnosed sleep apnea. The most common treatment is the use of a CPAP device, which uses Continuous Positive Airway Pressure to keep the airways open. This treatment is simple and effective. In some cases oral appliances or surgery are also options.