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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MD - Medicine, DM - Pulmonary Medicine & Critical Care Medicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi  •  16years experience
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Hello everyone,

I am Dr. Shiva Kalyan Biswas, consultant, pulmonary medicine and sleep disorders, working in Dwarka area of New Delhi. Friends, I'll be sharing with you some relevant points regarding obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is basically cessation or stoppage of breathing while you are sleeping. So, why does it occur and why is it important to know about obstructive sleep apnea? Usually when you sleep our body relaxes and all the muscles of our body relax. So is the case with the muscles of our airway which includes the muscles of our pharynx and oropharynx. And usually when you sleep, because of the relaxation of the airways, the muscles of the airways the lumen of the airways decreases.

And in a normal person it decreases to almost 40% of the awake state but in patients who are obese who are having a BMI of more than 25 kg per metre square, what happens is because of the fat deposition and during the period of sleep, there is a narrowing up to 100% of the airways and what happens is because of this almost near complete closure of the lumen of the airways, it is very difficult to breathing. So, when you try to breathe these air into the airway, against a closed airway, there is a sound, which you call it snoring and this is the snoring which indicates or suggests that a patient may have obstructive sleep apnea. And this obstructive sleep apnea patients usually complain of increased tiredness, decreased zeal for work, excessive daytime sleepiness, they may have difficulty concentrating in their work, they may have frequent naps in the daytime, they may also have naps while driving; which may be the cause of accidents. So, why does this happen?

Why does excessive daytime solemnness happen? It is because if you are airway gets totally obstructed by your sleeping, then the body cannot get oxygen and when this oxygen enters your body through the airways, oxygen concentration decreases and if they fall to a certain level which causes the brain to get activated and you awake. And these apneas are for a very short period and you may not be aware of these awakenings but that deflects in your daytime solemnness. So, because of these fall in oxygen saturation overnight, during your sleep there occurs a lot of metabolic and cardiovascular changes like there will be rise in your blood pressure, there may be cardiac rhythm disturbances and you may develop metabolic disturbances like diabetes mellitus. So friends, if you think you are having symptoms of snoring and daytime solemness along with the easy fatigue ability or easily getting tired or you are having a decrease in concentration or you fall asleep while driving, then it is better to consult one of your sleep specialists nearby so that he may advise you sleep test which will lead us to know the quality of your sleep and the desaturation which you are having overnight and we may be able to help you with some type of instrument which you called CPAP and other methods which will help you in decreasing these episodes of desaturation and in the long run it will improve your metabolic and cardiovascular parameters.

Thank you!

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