Medical Dictionary

obstructive sleep apnea

variants: also

obstructive sleep apnea syndrome


obstructive apnea

Medical Definition of obstructive sleep apnea

  1. :  sleep apnea that is caused by recurring interruption of breathing during sleep due to obstruction usually of the upper airway especially by weak, redundant, or malformed pharyngeal tissues, that occurs chiefly in overweight middle-aged and elderly individuals, and that results in hypoxemia and frequent arousals during the night and in excessive sleepiness during the day The study also showed I had some obstructive sleep apnea, in which the airway narrows, especially when the muscles relax in sleep. People with OSA stop breathing momentarily until a lack of oxygen alerts the brain, which wakes them up with a gasp.—Melinda Beck, The Wall Street Journal, 9 June 2009—abbreviation OSA

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