Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last for several seconds to several minutes, and may occur, by definition, at least 5 times in an hour. Similarly, each abnormally shallow breathing event is called a hypopnea.
People have issues with excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and impaired alertness. In other words, common effects of sleep apnea include daytime fatigue, a slower reaction time, and vision problems.OSA may increase risk for driving accidents and work-related accidents. If OSA is not treated, one has an increased risk of other health problems such as diabetes.
Of 1,867,876 elderly veterans having 2 years of care, 82,178 (4.4%) were diagnosed with SA. Individuals with SA were younger and more likely to have chronic diseases than those without SA. Individuals with chronic SA were more likely to have diagnoses of congestive heart failure (CHF), pulmonary circulation disorders, COPD, and obesity and less likely to have diagnoses of hypertension, osteoarthritis, and stroke than individuals with newly diagnosed SA.