Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is serious enough to get treatment but it isn’t immediately life-threatening. Although the pauses in breathing that happen during obstructive sleep apnoea may sound scary, your brain senses these and automatically wakes you up. But, obstructive sleep apnoea has been linked to coronary heart disease and stroke so it’s important to get treatment.
See our complications of obstructive sleep apnoea section for more information.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) symptoms include feeling very sleepy during the day as you don’t get a good night’s sleep. When you’re asleep, you may snore or make choking noises – if you have a partner they’ll probably be the one that notices. This disturbed sleep can affect you the next day as you may find it hard to concentrate, and it can affect your work and relationships.
See our symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea section for more information.
There isn’t usually a cure for obstructive sleep apnoea but there are treatments that can help with symptoms. These include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a machine blows pressurised air into your mouth, nose and throat through a mask over your nose or face. You’ll need to keep using these treatments to keep your symptoms under control. If there’s a clear reason for your sleep apnoea, such as if you have enlarged tonsils, surgery may ‘cure’ the problem.
See our treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea section for more information.
Certain things can increase your risk of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). OSA happens if your airways become too narrow while you’re asleep. If you’re obese, for example, this is the strongest risk to getting obstructive sleep apnoea. Excess weight creates fat deposits in your neck and this can block your airway while you sleep.
See our causes of obstructive sleep apnoea section for more information.
It depends on how severe your sleep apnoea is and if it's making you feel sleepy. And, if you’re having treatment to control your symptoms. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has rules for people with obstructive sleep apnoea and when you need to inform them. Obstructive sleep apnoea can affect your ability to drive safely and if you do have an accident, by law, tiredness isn’t an excuse.
See our driving if you have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) section for more information.
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