What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder characterized by interruptions and cessations in breathing during sleep, which can occur up to hundreds of times a night. Breathing may even stop for a minute or longer.


The Journal of the American Medical Association, estimated that one in five adults in the United States suffers from mild obstructive sleep apnea. One in 15 adults in the United States suffers from moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Untreated, sleep apnea poses serious health risks.

Interrupted sleep and daytime fatigue are the most common side effects, but sleep apnea can also contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, memory impairment, impotence and stroke.

Consider these statistics:

  • Almost half of all people with sleep apnea develop high blood pressure (hypertension), which raises the risk of heart failure and stroke. 1
  • People suffering from sleep apnea are up to six times more likely to be involved in a car crash as a result of drowsiness than those without sleep disorders. 2
  • The partner of a sleep apnea sufferer loses about an hour of sleep every night due to his or her partner’s snoring. 3
  • Sleep deprivation has been shown to alter hormones and metabolism involved in weight gain. 4