Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Definition - What does Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) mean?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a respiratory condition characterized by complete blockage of the airway in the throat, impairing the autonomous breathing cycle process. Several anatomical and/or physiological factors can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea including disproportionate soft tissue muscles (i.e. tongue, uvula), a narrow neck, mandibular/maxillary abnormalities, and obesity. A broad number of OSA-related cases are largely untreated, which can cause blood oxygen level deficiencies comprising homeostatic functions in the body.

WorkplaceTesting explains Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Individuals affected by obstructive sleep apnea can experience multiple symptoms such as chronic fatigue, snoring, intermittent spells of gasping/choking for air, depression, memory lapses, and irritability. A diagnosis from a certified sleep technician can help mitigate sporadic episodes of irregular biorhythms at night. Patients are generally referred to a sleep lab to undergo specialized treatment to confirm the degree of severity by analyzing metrical facts such as airflow, heart rate, breathing patterns, and brainwave activity.

Intervention techniques include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, oral appliances, or nasal surgery (i.e., deviated septum) to normalize breathing cycles. Obstructive sleep apnea carries significant repercussions in the workplace, hampering productivity in addition to jeopardizing the health and safety of employees. Different industries and occupations require competence and proficiency that reflects Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations maintained by employers.

With time, obstructive sleep apnea can impose detrimental health effects such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, for example, affecting quality of life. Employers are obligated to oversee every facet of production to ensure optimal efficiency from personnel. A medical expert can be enlisted to determine whether individuals who hold safety-sensitive positions remain fit to perform their job requirements against any contingent hazards.

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