Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) problems are estimated to affect between 2% to 4% of Americans with an even higher incidence occurring as one ages. This article focuses on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as a risk to safety and a leading contributor to interrupted sleep and disease morbidity in the aged population. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by interruption in upper airway airflow during sleep that leads to oxygen desaturations and disruptions in sleep continuity. The symptoms, diagnosis, and initial management of OSA are discussed that provide direction for the advanced practice nurse who encounters patients with this disease.

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