Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
It is also known as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome -- occurs when there are repeated episodes of complete or partial blockage of the upper airway during sleep. During an obstructive sleep apnea episode, the diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk. These episodes can interfere with sound sleep.
They can also reduce the flow of oxygen to vital organs and cause irregular heart rhythms. "Common signs of OSA include unexplained daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, and loud snoring (with periods of silence followed by gasps).Treatments Avoiding alcohol and smoking is recommended, as is avoiding medications that relax the central nervous system (for example, sedatives and muscle relaxants). Weight loss is recommended in those who are overweight. Continuous positive airway pressure and mandibular advancement devices are often used.
In the general population the average prevalence of the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS) is about 5%. In the group of professional drivers it is even more prevalent, with estimates ranging from 5 to 50% depending on the severity criteria used (e.g. Tregear et al., 2009).