When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the airway collapses which stops the flow of air into the lungs. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper will awaken (partially), thus clearing the obstruction in the throat and starting the flow of air again. This occurrence (called an apnea) is usually accompanied by a loud gasp. Those with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When left untreated, OSA has been associated with excessive daytime sleepiness and cardiovascular problems including sudden death. Upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) is a condition that lies midway between benign snoring and true obstructive sleep apnea. While people with UARS suffer many of the symptoms of OSA, a normal sleep test will be negative. There are several different treatments for sleep apnea depending on the severity of the problem and the anatomic structures involved in the obstruction. Sometimes the cure can be as simple as a dental appliance worn at night but may be as complex as correcting a deficient jaw. Treatment is always individualized to fit each patient’s needs. For more information, contact Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today.