About Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep disordered breathing is epidemic in the United States. Well over 18 million Americans suffer from the debilitating symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). If all the sleep beds in the U.S. operated at full capacity, it would take more than 10 years to test all those who need testing today. Untreated OSA has established links to: high blood pressure, stroke, weight gain and obesity, depression, cardiac disease, excessive daytime sleepiness, memory problems, Alzheimer’s disease and premature death.

How Does OSA Impact Sleep?

OSA is a condition where a person’s airway closes completely or partially while they sleep. (Think of it like a straw that is pinched shut.) This occurs when the muscle tone in the neck and throat decreases during sleep. The problem worsens with excess weight, a thick neck and with normal aging. Every time a person has difficulty breathing, their heart rate increases, their blood pressure goes up, and their vital organs are starved of oxygen.

When a person doesn’t breathe (and this can last from a few seconds up to 2 or 3 minutes) they wake up, muscle tone returns and the airway opens again. This cycle continues over and over during the night, sometimes over 100 times per hour. A person with sleep apnea is not only deprived of oxygen, but deprived of sleep.

Someone whose airway is narrowed during sleep will not be aware of it, but will snore heavily and experience periods of no breathing, then will gasp for air, frequently waking from deep sleep to light sleep as these “apneic events” occur.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Often Include:

  • Loud snoring, snorting, or gasping for breath while sleeping
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Observed breathing pauses during sleep
  • Unexplained morning headache
  • Profuse night sweating
  • Confusion or brief memory loss upon awakening

Untreated sleep apnea can contribute to other medical conditions such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Congestive Heart failure
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Impotence

Despite the significant benefits associated with treating OSA in terms of reduced healthcare utilization and costs, reduced on-the-job accidents and increased productivity, there are a limited number of providers that offer some combination of needed services including identifying, diagnosing, treating and tracking compliance and outcomes for employee groups. Traditional testing and therapy models aren’t designed for large-scale population management.

AEON offers a scalable, comprehensive and cost-effective Integrated OSA Management Program for testing and treating OSA.