Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic condition characterized by frequent episodes of upper airway collapse during sleep. Its effect on nocturnal sleep quality and ensuing daytime fatigue and sleepiness are widely acknowledged. Increasingly, obstructive sleep apnea is also being recognized as an independent risk factor with several clinical indications, including systemic hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and abnormal glucose metabolism. Estimates of disease prevalence are in the range of 3% to 7%, with certain subgroups of the population bearing higher risk. Factors that increase vulnerability for the disorder include age, male sex, obesity, family history, menopause, craniofacial abnormalities, and certain lifestyle behaviours such as cigarette smoking and alcohol use.
Obstructive sleep apnea is being increasingly recognized as an important cause of medical morbidity and mortality, However compounding the lack of patient awareness, health care professionals in most medical specialties, and critically within general practice, have no access to a simple screening device.