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The biology of sleep apnea

Kingman P. Strohl
From: Science & Medicine: Volume 3 Number 5: Page 32 (October 1996)

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Abstract: Obstructive sleep apnea results when there is cyclic closure and reopening of the pharynx during sleep. Because of the multiple functions of the upper airway, its muscles are controlled by complex neural pathways originating in different brain regions. Anatomic peculiarities that interface with neuromuscular drive can increase susceptibility to sleep apnea. Its effects, particularly on the cardiovascular system, probably arise from interruprions in gas exchange, and obstructive sleep apnea could also be a neuroexcitatory stressor.

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