What Is Sleep Apnea?

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Sleep apnea involves episodes of repetitive upper airway obstruction during sleep, and it can result in low oxygen saturation. Find out how sleep apnea can be caused by enlarged tonsils, a collapsed airway or obstructed nasal passages with help from a nurse and respiratory care practitioner in this free video on respiratory therapy and healthy breathing.

Part of the Video Series: Respiratory Therapy
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Video Transcript

I am going to talk to you about what is sleep apnea? First of all apnea means without rest and sleep is usually at night. You have episodes of repetitive upper airway obstruction during sleep and you'll also have, present with low oxygen saturation. Airways are obstructed and it also could be an excess of causing because you have tissue in the airway that is excess tissue. You may have enlarged tonsils. You could have an enlarged tongue or the airway could relax and collapse. Nasal passages could be obstructed. Sometimes it is caused by a jaw and airway structure itself. Itself can be a problem but either way sleep apnea at night is without breath but is usually treated with the continuous positive airway pressure machine that is usually called CPAP. There is another one called BIPAP that will keep the airways open. Now CPAP keeps the airways open on inspiration and BIPAP is keeping it open both ways so that you've got the airways open at all times to be able to bypass or overcome the obstruction.


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