Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (apnoea) is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder, caused by complete or partial obstruction of upper respiratory airway during sleep. This causes episodes of breath cessation at night, which results in a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. Prevalence of OSA ranges from 4.4% to 13.7% of the general population in India, while global prevalence is between 0.3% and 5.1%. The condition is also more common in men than women.
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring during night
- Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep (observed by partner)
- Abrupt awakening accompanied by gasping and choking
- Dry mouth and sore throat after waking up
- Headache in the morning
- Difficulty concentrating during daytime
- High blood pressure
- Night sweats
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor if you or your loved ones experience the above mentioned symptoms. Always trust the leading and the best medical institutions like Paras Hospitals group, which have specialized departments for the treatment and care of such conditions.
Causes and Risk Factors
Relaxation of the throat muscles during sleep is the main cause of obstructive sleep apnea. This causes narrowing of the airway, obstructing normal breathing. The brain awakens the body when breathe ceases, but the affected person doesn’t know. These disruptions repeat up to 30 times or more an hour in a night. Risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Excess weight, as fat deposits around the airway leads to its narrowing, causing obstruction
- Naturally narrow airway, which is an inherited trait
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids, which obstruct the airway
- High blood pressure
- Family history of sleep apnea
Treatments and Management
Doctors usually recommend lifestyle changes for the correction of this condition, like:
- Quitting alcohol
- Quitting smoking
- Weight loss
- Sleeping on the side
There are other treatments which are recommended by doctors, which include:
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure devices are machines which provide a continuous stream of air through a mask, which keeps the airway open.
- Mandibular repositioning device: This is an oral device which holds the jaw in a position where airflow in unrestricted, correcting OSA.
- Surgery: This is also an option, but usually the last one, when others fail to provide relief. Surgery is used to stiffen or shrink the obstructing tissue, or removing it entirely. Surgery is only carried out if the condition is severe, or is life threatening.