Sleep apnea means that your breathing often is blocked or partly blocked during sleep. The problem can be mild to severe, based on how often your lungs don't get enough air. This may happen from 5 to 30 or more times an hour.
Risk Factors and Complications
Sleep apnea is common, affecting over 18 million Americans. People most at risk are male, overweight, and over the age of 40, but sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children.
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure or other cardiovascular diseases, weight gain, memory issues, headaches, and impotence in men. In addition, the poor sleep associated with sleep apnea can impair your job performance and other tasks that require skill and coordination, like driving.
Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe more easily during sleep.