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Sleep Apnea - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that happens when any person’s breathing and respiratory function is interrupted during sleep. People who are not aware of this illness and live with untreated sleep apnea, stop breathing for several times during their sleep, which sometimes runs to hundreds of times.

When this happens the brain and the rest of the sleep apnea patient’s body do not receive adequate oxygen during their sleep.

Sleep apnea can be classified into two types:

OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea): This is caused by blockage in the airway of the sleep apnea patient, and is more common of the two types. This symptom happens when the soft tissue at the back of the patient’s throat collapses during the sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea: This is a more serious kind of sleep apnea, where the airway is not blocked like in OSA, but the patient’s brain fails to signal the respiratory muscles to breath. This occurs because of instability in the respiratory control center of the patient suffering from this disease.

Sleep apnea can affect anyone, any person of any age, even children. But people who are more at a risk of this disease are:

  • People who are overweight
  • Being male
  • Being over the age of 40
  • Have a large neck size (16 inches or more in women and 17 inches or more for men)
  • Have a large tongue, large tonsils or a noticeably small jaw bone
  • People suffering from GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Nasal obstruction owing to allergies, deviated septum of the nose or sinus problems

Treatment and Diganosis :

Left untreated, this disease can cause a number of serious health problems, which include, stoke, high blood pressure, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, depression, fatigue, diabetes, headaches and even worsening of ADHD symptoms.In addition to this untreated sleep apnea can also bring in poor performance in day to day activities, like in school and office, car accidents, academic failure and underachievement, especially among children and adolescents.

If you have symptoms of this disease, the doctor may ask you to undergo a sleep apnea test, which is also known as polysomnogram. A polysomnogram is a study on sleeping activities. It is a multiple component test that transmits electronically records of sleeping patterns and correlate them with physical activities while you are asleep. These electronic records and data are then analyzed by ‘sleep specialists’ to find out whether you really have sleep apnea or if you are suffering from any other disorder.

Can't be cured, but treatment helps Require medical diagnosis Lab test always required Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Wake up with a very dry or sore throat. Loud snoring. Occasionally waking up with a gasping or choking feeling. Lack of energy or feeling sleepless throughout the day. Feeling sleepy while driving. Restless sleep accompanied by morning headaches. Decreased interest in sex along with forgetfulness, mood changes and insomnia.

Popular Health Tips

Sleep Apnea - Know The Common Signs Of It!

ENT Specialist, Ghaziabad
Sleep Apnea - Know The Common Signs Of It!

Sleep apnoea is a kind of disease that can affect people of any age and is basically a kind of sleep disorder. The person suffering from sleep apnoea may feel extremely tired and fatigued even after having a full night’s sleep and his snoring may become extremely loud which is again a serious problem.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnoea?

  • There can be many cases where the symptoms of central sleep apnoea and complex sleep apnoea may be overlapping which makes it a bit difficult to get diagnosed properly. But, there are certain very basic symptoms of sleep apnoea.
  • Very loud snoring is a basic characteristic of patients with sleep apnoea.
  • The patient may suffer from regular episodes of cessation when they are sleeping as might be pointed out by other people.
  • The patient may awaken from sleep regularly due to shortness of breath and problems in the sleeping order.
  • The patient suffering from sleep apnoea may wake up from sleep with a very dry mouth and or a sore throat.
  • The patient may suffer from a bad headache often and in many unfortunate cases, the patients may also suffer from insomnia which is the problem of sleeplessness.
  • Patients of sleep apnoea suffer from intense problems of irritability and bouts of morning sleepiness.
  • Shortness of breath may intensify in a patient so much so that the person may get awakened from sleep gasping for air as if choking.
  • Excessive bouts of daytime sleeping may cause a person to perform very poorly in his work as well.

It is at these times when a patient should immediately consult a doctor for a proper treatment and further solution to this problem.

Causes of sleep apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnoea is caused when the muscle in our throat starts relaxing. It is this muscle that gives support to the triangular piece of tissue that hangs from the uvula which is the soft palate and the side walls of the tongue. Basically, when this muscle relaxes, the airways in the body gets narrowed as a result of which the blood does not get enough oxygen which is required for proper breathing. It is then that the brain starts sending signals to get up from sleep so that the nasal passage can be reopened for sufficient amount of oxygen.
  • There can also be cases where the brain is unable to send a proper signal to the muscles that help us to breath as a result of which a person does not breathe for a certain period of time. This, in turn, makes the patient awaken abruptly from sleep with shortness of breath and the patient finds it difficult to fall asleep.
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4 Most Common Sleep Disorders

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, Fellow In Pain Management, DM - Neurology
Neurologist, Navi Mumbai
4 Most Common Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorder is a serious problem which a large number of people are facing due to multiple reasons. Almost every other person complains of having some sort of sleep disorder, irrespective of his/her age. Sleep disorders may come across as something which can be overlooked, but this shouldn’t be the case, as when the problem aggravates it can take quite a scary turn. You need to be aware of the different kinds of sleep disorders which affect a vast number of people, on a daily basis. Given below are some of the most common ones which affect the majority of the crowd.

1. Insomnia
Insomnia, a worldwide epidemic, is the most common type of sleep disorder today. A number of factors can cause insomnia and affect even the healthiest being. From stress, anxiety or depression, substance and alcohol abuse to certain types of medication, a lot of factors can cause this issue. People who have insomnia have difficulty in sleeping and then maintaining that sleep. A cognitive behavioral therapy can help people suffering from this disorder. Often medications are also prescribed.

2. Sleep Apnea
If you have a partial or complete blockage of the throat then, you might be suffering from sleep apnea. This disorder is the second most prevailing sleep disorder in the world today. People who suffer from this disorder hardly realize it until someone informs them about having the trouble. Some of the common symptoms of Sleep apnea are morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, and excessively loud snoring as well. People suffering from apnea may also face trouble breathing multiple times per night. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine is a common treatment for this disorder.

3. RLS or Restless Leg Syndrome
The real reason behind RLS is still not known by experts, however, most believe the real cause of the disorder is hereditary. Some medications can also be a cause of restless leg syndrome. In this disorder, an urge to move your legs and hands precedes the need to sleep. RLS usually occurs when the patient is resting. In order to treat the restless leg syndrome, one must reduce the consumption of alcohol and caffeine along with doing regular exercises. For more severe cases, often medications are prescribed. RLS is observed more in women than in men.

4. Narcolepsy
People with narcolepsy often complain about falling asleep during odd times and feeling weak quite often. An abnormality in the brain is usually the reason behind this sleep disorder. Patients of narcolepsy often develop cataplexy which is a condition where patients feel faintish as an emotional reaction to any situation. People suffering from narcolepsy are given medications as a treatment.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2846 people found this helpful

Sleep Apnea - How It Can Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease?

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Noida
Sleep Apnea - How It Can Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease?

Getting a good night’s sleep is needed not only to remove dark circles but to improve your overall health as well. Ideally, adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. This helps you stay physically and mentally healthy. However, getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done, as sleep apnea is one of the factors that could affect the quality of your sleep. This can cause a number of health issues including heart disease.

What is sleep apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that can make your breathing start and stop repeatedly while you are asleep. These pauses can range from 5 times an hour to 30 times in one hour. Waking up tired after a long sleep and snoring are characteristic symptoms of this condition. This can be annoying for others, but for you, it could be life-threatening. When your breathing stops; your airways get blocked.

This is characteristic of obstructive sleep apnea, as every time this happens, you wake up. This can increase the risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure, in turn, can cause arrhythmia, heart failure, and strokes. This can increase the risk of a fatal heart attack by up to 5 times.

Heart disease and central sleep apnea have a cyclic relationship. In this case, heart disease causes the person to retain water and salts. At night, this excess fluid can enter the lungs making the person wake up feeling short of breath. This is not necessarily because the airways get blocked but because the brain does not send the diaphragm a signal to expand and contract. This is not as common as obstructive sleep apnea.

Reducing your risk of heart disease caused by sleep apnea
There are ways to treat sleep apnea so as to reduce the chances of heart diseases. To treat it, it must first be diagnosed. Thus, if your roommate notices you snoring, consult a doctor immediately. For a diagnosis, you will need to undergo a sleep study. This involves staying overnight in the hospital where they will monitor your sleep. Treatment for sleep apnea is known as continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP.

This form of treatment involves wearing a mask that regulates the air pressure as you breathe thus ensuring that the air passages do not close down. In case of obstructive sleep apnea, losing weight if you are obese, can also help treat the condition and keep the airways open.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3016 people found this helpful

Sleepwalking - 11 Things You Must Know!

MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Ahmedabad
Sleepwalking - 11 Things You Must Know!

Sleep is one such time when people usually are expected to lie down still and get rest. However, we have all heard of sleepwalking, a condition where a person walks during the sleep. Though it may sound strange, there is a deeper explanation for it both from a causative point of view and from managing it.

Things you should know?

  1. Sleepwalking happens when a person moves back from a deep sleep to a light sleep or awakening state.
  2. The person who is sleepwalking is usually not aware of it.
  3. Activities may range from simply getting up and sitting up in bed to walking around the room. They could also open the door and walk out to the neighbourhood. Moving furniture, changing dresses or driving a car, may also be some of the actions Most of these activities happens completely without their knowledge.
  4. Mostly happens in children up to the age of 12, but can be seen in adults also, where it assumes a more severe form.
  5. The person who is sleepwalking has a fixed stare with glassy eyes. They may appear dazed and lost when they are awakened.
  6. They may not respond when they are actually sleepwalking, or respond very slowly
  7. They can be brought back to bed and put back to sleep without being disturbed. Most children would go back to sleeping when this is done
  8. Though the parents can be very worried when they see children sleepwalking, reassurance is required, as it usually disappears as they cross teenage.
  9. There could be chances of small injury like tripping or fall during the sleepwalking episode
  10. Sleepwalkers may be more restless compared to other children during their waking hours
  11. Bedwetting is also quite common in children who sleepwalk


  1. Inappropriate sleep pattern with lack of sleep for prolonged periods is one of the main reasons for sleepwalking
  2. Stress
  3. Excessive drinking
  4. Medical conditions like heart rhythm problems, acidity, gastric reflux, and seizures
  5. Psychiatric conditions like panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder can also lead to sleepwalking


  1. For a parent to see their child walking around in their sleep can be quite disturbing.
  2. Reassurance is required stating that it is just a temporary phase and will not stay beyond the teenage years
  3. Most people do not require any intervention unless accompanied by severe symptoms like going out of the house or driving
  4. Once established, it is advisable to avoid by not drinking too much alcohol, avoiding stress and anxiety and taking precautions like extra-secure locks to prevent sleepwalking and/or other side effects. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a psychiatrist.
2546 people found this helpful

Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

ENT Specialist, Delhi
Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which you experience frequent breathing pauses while sleeping. In case of some, the pauses may last for just a few seconds, while for others, it may continue for a few minutes. Sleep apnea is generally chronic in nature. There are three types of sleep apnea, namely Central, Obstructive and Complex sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea occurs if the brain fails to transmit signals to the muscles responsible for your breathing functions. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs due to relaxation of your throat muscles. Complex sleep apnea refers to a combined condition of both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Some of the possible causes of sleep apnea are as follows: 

  1. Blockage of airway during sleep can cause sleep apnea
  2. Putting on weight can cause obstructive sleep apnea
  3. In some cases, large tonsil tissues can lead to obstructive sleep apnea in small children
  4. Intake of certain medicines like Oxycontin or MS Contin can cause central sleep apnea
  5. Male people are more prone to sleep apnea
  6. Smoking is also a potent trigger for sleep apnea
  7. At times, high blood pressure can induce sleep apnea
  8. Suffering from sinus can also lead to sleep apnea
  9. Large neck size (more than 16 inches) may cause sleep apnea

In case of some people, sleep apnea might be an inherited condition.

The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are mentioned below:

  • Sometimes, obstructive sleep apnea is accompanied by choking or snorting sounds.
  • You may encounter breathing trouble while sleeping, leading to a disruption of your sleep.
  • Maximum times, sleep apnea is accompanied by snoring.
  • Sleep apnea leads to a dry mouth, which can disturb your sleep.
  • You may feel dizzy during daytime. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ent specialist.
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Popular Questions & Answers

My two years old nephew is suffering from sleep apnea. Is there any treatment from medicine. Please advice me what should I do.

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, Trivandrum
Need to check whether he has a habit of keeping his mouth open while sleeping and also any snoring issues. It's most likely Adenoid hypertrophy, which is a tissue in the nose which becomes enlarged in children, especially those who are allergic. He can be treated initial with medication and if still persists then to consider an endoscopy of nose followed by surgery.
3 people found this helpful

Hi, I am a patient of sleep apnea so I want to consult with you in this matter. The percentage of AHI is 96 %. Thanking you.

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine, MD - Tuberculosis & Respiratory Diseases / Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi
There are 3 treatment for sleep Apnoea. Hold standard and treatment of choice is positive airway pressure i.e. CPAP. 2nd is surgical. 3rd is weight loss. A sleep specialist preferably a broad certified sleep specialist from India or abroad will be the right doctor to guide you to choose appropriate treatment.
5 people found this helpful

I have been suffering from sever sleep apnea and using cpap. Is there any treatment to avoid cpap. Another my problem is high triglycerides in between 400 to 800 as per my food intake it is all of our family history.

MD - Medicine, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Pune
1.OSA is not a good thing to have 2. Get PFT and ECG also 3. CPAP or BIPAP are important treatment options 4. Reduce your weight, bring BMI down to 20.
3 people found this helpful

I am overweight and feel stressed all the time. Have thyroid diabetes hypertension and stressed out and lethargic. I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Please suggest me something for sleep apnea.

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Kolkata
You need to get examined and investigated thoroughly by sleep specialist as well as an ENT surgeon to guide you through your problems.

I am having vertigo all day and sleep apnea from last five years. I had done my dns 4 year back but I have still the same problem with the. Breathing specially at. Night.

DNB(Respiratory Diseases), MBBS
Pulmonologist, Jabalpur
Sleep apneas needs treatment with overnight PAP therapy, I hope you have been using it, because with it the problem of breathing should get better. Vertigo needs evaluation for the cause.
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can be classified into two types:

Treatment and Diganosis :

Play video
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
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!
Play video
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Namaskar Doston!

Me Dr. Nikhil Modi, sleep medicines ka specialist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Sarita Vihar, Delhi se. Aaj me apse saans and neend se related problems ke bare me apse discuss krna chaunga. Ise obstructive sleep apnea kehte hain. Is bimari ke bare me abhi log jyada aware nhi hain. Is bimari ka treatment bhi possible hai. Obstructive sleep apnea ka mtlb hai sote waqt saans ka rukna. Logon ko lgta hai ki khrate gihri neend ki nishani hai. But ye saans rukne ka pehle symptom hai. Ye age ke badhne ke sath bimafri hoti hai. Overweight, diabetes, and thyroid ke patient me ye bimari jyada dekhi jati hai. Metabolic syndrome me obese hone ke sath sath galle me bhi charbi deposit hoti hai.

Saans ki naliyan weak ho jati hain. Jaise hi hum raat ko gehri neend me jate hain, hmare aage ki muscles piche ko gir jati hai jis se saans ka rasta band ho jata hai. Aadha band hone se khratte aate hain. Pura band hone se saans ruk jati hai jis se hum bich me hi uth jate hain. Morning me uthte hi hume lgta hai ki hum thake hue hain. Hum active nhi reh pate. Dekha gya hai ki vo driving krte hue bhi soo jate hain jisse accident ke chances badh jate hain. Ye bimari hmara lifestyle effect krti hai. Hmara weight badhta hai and saans fulta hai. Agar apko ye sab symptoms hain to iske specialist se contact kren quki is bimari ko control kia ja skta hai. Agar is control nhi kia gya to iske bhut harm hain.

Qui saans rukne se heart and brain pe effect ata hai. Isse blood pressure and sugar ka control khrab hota hai. Sudden cardiac arrest ke bhi chances badh jate hain. Heart attack se apki death hone ke bhi chances hote hain. Agar brain pe effect aata hai to brain stroke or paralysis ke chances increase ho jate hain. Iska treatment bhi possible hai. Weight reduce and lifestyle changes bhut important hain. Agar bimari jyada severe hai to nose pe lgane ke lia ek machine aati hai jo aap sote time use kar skte hain. Or apke risk factors reduce ho jate hain. Surgical procedures bhi available hai jisse is problem ko thik kia ja skta hai. Agar apko ye symptoms hain to aap apni bimari ki severity janne ke lia specialist se milen. Treatment le ke aap apni life ko acha kar skte hain or bimari se bach skte hain.

Thank You!
Play video
Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea - Causes and treatment
Play video
Pulmonary Disorder: Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Good afternoon friends,

I am Dr Hemant Kalra, I am a pulmonologist.

Today I will talk about a very-very important topic that is Obstructive Sleep Apnea which is widely prevalent in our country but very-very underdiagnose and awareness is very-very less. So what is obstructive sleep apnea, those patients who snore very-very heavily, who feel tired or feel sleepy during the daytime they may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. So what is normal breathing, normal breathing is when our upper airways they allow free air to go inside the lungs and out of the lungs, this is normal breathing. So what are the obstructive airways, obstructive airways is then these upper airways collapse and this collapse of upper airways causes snoring and sensation in breathing, this is abnormal breathing or obstructive breathing at night time when we sleep? So what are the symptoms, symptoms can be nighttime symptoms can be there or daytime symptoms can be there. Night time symptoms are frequent visits to bathroom, weakness, sensation in breathing, choking or gasping for air or loud a persistent snoring or restless sleep, these 5 can be there in the night time symptoms and daytime symptoms are early morning headache, lethargy, and poor concentration, poor memory, feeling asleep during and routine activities and daytime somnolence or daytime sleepiness, these are daytime symptoms. So what kinds of patients are prone to have obstructive sleep apnea. Those patients who are obese with a short and thick neck with large tongue or hypothyroidism such patients if they snore heavily or feel tired or sleepy during the daytime or if they have night time or daytime and symptoms they must be investigated for obstructive sleep apnea. So how to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, there is a very small test called polysomnography that can be done at a house or in hospitals. That is conducted in two parts, one is diagnostic, one is titration in diagnostic. We diagnose, whether a patient is having obstructive episodes in the night or not, or in another part, if an obstruction is there what is the pressure required to eliminate those obstructions in the night time. So obstructive diagnostic and titration component one night sleep steady is more than enough. Once we diagnose obstructive sleep apnea then we have to treat it also. There are so many treatments available but gold standard till now is CPAP therapy Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy is the most appropriate therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea and once you treated you will feel that next day if you get up you will feel very-very energetic and if you do not treat obstructive sleep apnea then you may have heart problems, rythm problems, your BP may not be controlled, your sugar may not be control, you may have strokes in future also. So, if you treat obstructive sleep apnea with CPAP therapy, it is a gold standard therapy in India it is widely available in our country but lack of awareness is there. It is a very important disorder you must be treated as early as possible.

Thank you.
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