Article

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

Unit of Internal Medicine, Angiology and Arteriosclerosis Diseases, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.
European Journal of Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.3). 10/2012; 23(7):586-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejim.2012.05.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome is a common but often unrecognized disorder caused by pharyngeal collapse during sleep and characterized by frequent awakenings, disrupted sleep and consequent excessive daytime sleepiness. With the increasing epidemic of obesity, the most important risk factor for OSA, prevalence of the disease will increase over the coming years thus representing an important public-health problem. In fact, it is now recognized that there is an association between OSA and hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart failure, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, stroke, pulmonary hypertension, neurocognitive and mood disorders. Diagnosis is based on the combined evaluation of clinical manifestations and objective sleep study findings. Cardinal symptoms include snoring, sleepiness and significant reports of sleep apnea episodes. Polysomnography represents the gold standard to confirm the clinical suspicion of OSA syndrome, to assess its severity and to guide therapeutic choices. Behavioral, medical and surgical options are available for the treatment. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) represents the treatment of choice in most patients. CPAP has been demonstrated to be effective in reducing symptoms, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and neurocognitive sequelae, but it is often poorly tolerated. The results of clinical studies do not support surgery and pharmacological therapy as first-line treatment, but these approaches might be useful in selected patients. A better understanding of mechanisms underlying the disease could improve therapeutic strategies and reduce the social impact of OSA syndrome.

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