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Cilia Nasal Mucous Breathing Through the Nose Deviated Nasal Septum
Nasal Polyps Turbinate Hypertrophy Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing, during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from a few seconds to minutes. Similarly, each abnormally low breathing event is called a hypopnea.

There are three forms of sleep apnea: central (CSA), obstructive (OSA), and complex or mixed sleep apnea (i.e. a combination of central and obstructive). In CSA, breathing is interrupted by a lack of respiratory effort; in OSA, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow despite respiratory effort and snoring is common.

Regardless of type, an individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing. Sleep apnea is recognized as a problem by others witnessing the individual during episodes or is suspected because of certain symptoms. Symptoms may be present for years without identification, during which time the sufferer may become conditioned to the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance.