What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition that is distinctly characterized by a suspension of breathing. The affected patient finds it difficult to breathe because the muscles used in breathing stop moving and the volume of the lungs remains the same. This situation in which the unchanged volume of the lungs doesn’t allow air to come in and go out, because the lung has to expand and contract for a balanced flow of air, is very dangerous. This can cause the obstructive sleep apnea patient to black out or die. This is due to the accumulation of CO2 in the blood and lack of oxygen. The excess CO2 diffused into the blood causes the pH level of the blood to fall, and makes the blood slightly acidic.
This medical condition, however, is dependent on how much the airways are blocked, and may not lead to total obstruction of the flow of air in to the lungs. This means that the exchange of gases between the lungs and the environment is not affected, and cellular respiration is also not affected. Now, this should not be mistaken to be common in all obstructive sleep apnea patients. The disease is more likely to have severe consequences, and it is rare for patients to experience little or mild effects.