Obstructive Sleep Apnea was called the 'Pickwickian syndrome' in the past because Joe, the fat boy, described in 'The Pickwick Papers' by Charles Dickens, had typical features such as snoring, obesity, sleepiness and dropsy.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA) is a sleep- related breathing disorder in which there is repeated obstruction to the upper airway, while the person is sleeping.
'Apnea', which means 'without breath' in Greek , causes its victims to repeatedly stop breathing during their sleep, often for 10 seconds or more and sometimes even for a minute or longer. These episodes of breathing interruptions are dangerous and lead to a drop in the oxygen saturation in the blood. The obstructive episode frequency can be as high as 30 times an hour. Sleep apnea can be caused by either complete obstruction of the airway (obstructive apnea) or partial obstruction (Obstructive Hypopnea), both of which can wake a person from sleep to facilitate breathing.
A drop in the oxygen saturation can harm both the heart and the brain and can be dangerous to a person's health. The process of obstruction can lead to poor quality of sleep, waking up in the night and increased sleepiness during daytime and at work. This impacts the quality of life negatively. Besides this snoring can keep the partner awake.