Are you a loud snorer? Are you experiencing hypersomnia? Chances are you might be suffering from Sleep Apnea. Dr. Angshuman Mukherjee, Consultant – Department of Respiratory Medicine, Fortis Hospital Anandapur explains in detail what the symptoms, causes, and treatments are.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disease where the upper airway gets collapsed periodically during sleep. This ultimately leads to lack of oxygen in vital organs of the body.
What are the symptoms?
- Snoring- Bed partners are very much important in determining this sort of symptom.
- Excess daytime sleepiness- Patients may fall asleep at unusual places like reading newspapers, watching TV, driving etc.
- Minor but significant symptoms are-
- Loss of memory
- Not feeling refreshed when getting up in morning ie. waking up with a heavy head or a bad headache
- Weight gain
- Resilient Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, etc
- Social Isolation
What are the causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
The causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea are still unknown. However, patients with obesity, short and thick neck, smokers and alcohol consumers are prone to sleep apnea.
What are the risk factors involved?
Alcohol, Hectic and Stressful Lifestyle and Smoking are the risk factors involved.
Sleep Apnea is considered a serious medical condition. So what are the complications?
The complications are:
- Possibility of increase in Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar concerns
- Patients who are already Hypertensive, Diabetic, etc may feel that their disease is not well controlled with the current medication.
- Forgetfulness/Memory Loss
- Accidents because of sleeping during driving
- Social isolation due to sleep in an unusual situation
If left untreated, what are the effects of Sleep Apnea?
It can result in Resistant Hypertension, Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality, Increased chances of Brain Stroke and Social Out-casting and problems in married life
Enlist the treatments
- Positive airway pressure treatment in the form of CPAP- a device which helps the upper airway to remain open during sleep
- Lifestyle modification including weight loss, improved sleep hygiene
- Avoiding Smoking and Alcohol consumption esp before sleeping
- ENT Surgical Procedure, though it is not so effective
- Mandibular Advancement Device is also not much of significance
Some important facts and figures for Sleep Apnea:
- Men are more prone to OSA as compared to women. Some studies state the ratio as 2:1 while some claim it is as high as 8:1
- Females above the age of 50 i.e. Menopausal or post-menopausal women are at higher risk of OSA.
- Male with a collar size of 42cm or above and women with a collar size of 40cm and above are at greater risk of OSA.
- People with BMI>30 are at high risk of OSA while those with BMI between 25-30 are at significant risk of OSA.
- 93% of Indians are snorers but only 2% visit doctors for advice.
- OSA is an independent risk factor for hypertension.
By Dr Angshuman Mukherjee, Consultant – Department of Respiratory Medicine, Fortis Hospital Anandapur explaining everything one needs to know about sleep apnea.