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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which air passage in the back of the throat is blocked during sleep by the tongue and soft tissue. This can lead to loud snoring and lapses in breathing that can occur hundreds of times a night. The hallmark of sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness. A person may be sleepy enough to fall asleep while driving causing accidents, memory problems and/or unexplained changes in behavior. Untreated severe OSA is associated with irregular heartbeat, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke. Many people with OSA are not aware that they have a sleep disorder. A family member often informs the health care provider of a person s poor sleep or daytime symptoms. This leads to an evaluation of a possible sleep disorder. Once OSA is diagnosed your doctor may prescribe CPAP. CPAP is short for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.
National Jewish Health authors free downloadable patient education materials to provide you and your family the information and tools to help manage your disease. They include Understanding Booklets, Med Facts, Test Facts, Medication handouts and more.