Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a breathing disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. These episodes are called apneas (literally, “without breath”) and last at least nine seconds. Some people have episodes of hypopnea, which means breathing that is partially (but substantially) obstructed.
OSA most often occurs when the airway muscles fail to keep the airway open during sleep. Most people who suffer from sleep apnea don’t know it. According to the World Health Organization approximately 100 million people worldwide have OSA. In the United States, OSA is estimated to affect 1 in 4 men and 1 in 9 women; and affects 23 million working adults.