Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Overview

Last Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Change Language

Sleep Apnea - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

About Types Signs Causes Diagnose Treatment Risk factors Complications Side effects Natural remedy

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.

How different types of sleep apnea are classified?

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.

What are the early signs of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which sleep is disturbed due to a sudden start and stop breathing. This effect of improper breathing during sleep interrupts with oxygen supply to the brain as well as to rest parts of the body. Signs like:

  • Loud snoring
  • Sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Sensation of choking upon waking or reason of waking
  • Disturbed mood due to improper sleep cycles
  • Sleepiness type feeling during day
  • Irritation
  • Lack of attention
  • Concentration like condition while awake
  • Sexual problems (erectile dysfunction)
  • Increased frequency of urine urgency

This condition is mainly affecting people from male gender aged above 40 years, who are overweight or having a disease associated with respiratory system.

What are the causes of sleep apnea?

It is difficult to highlight any one cause of sleep apnea but for common form of it, obstructive sleep apnea, it is found that obesity or excessive body weight is main cause. The changes in muscle functioning that keep the airway open during sleep are relaxing along with tongue may narrow the airway and breathing is disturbed.

Deposition of fat on and around the tissue of the neck region can also restrict the flow of oxygen. People with large sized tongue, tonsils or uvula, recessed chin, the large size of neck and overbite like conditions are more susceptible to this type of sleep disorders.

How to diagnose sleep apnea?

Patients experiencing primary signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are consulting doctors who first tries to find out the reason behind the condition. Sleep apnea is mainly diagnosed with the help of conducting sleep study in a sleep center laboratory where a multicomponent test is performed.

With the test result of a polysomnogram, doctors can find out whether it is a sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder. There may be chances of conducting tests like an electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyogram (EMG), electrooculogram (EOG), electrocardiogram (ECG), nasal airflow sensor, and snore microphone as it can help in detecting sleep apnea.

What is the treatment of sleep apnea?

There are two forms of sleep apnea- Obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, from which obstructive sleep apnea is more commonly observed in populations. At the first level, it is advised to consult doctor, record the levels of fatigue, sleep durations, breathing issues and then suggests treatment. Lifestyle changes like reduced consumption of alcohol and smoking, weight loss are recommended so that it helps in normalizing the breathing of patients.

For obstructive sleep apnea, mainly continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) is used for treatment as it is a mask-like device that keeps the flow of air continuous even during sleep. The other options like the widening of obstructive tissue through surgery and mandibular repositioning device are also used by medical professionals for treating sleep apnea.

What are the risk factors for sleep apnea?

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

What are complications of untreated obstructive sleep apnea?

As this condition is disturbing sleep as well as respiration, it may lead to many difficult health complications. This condition may raise high blood pressure, other cardiovascular disease, problems associated with mood and memory, type-2 diabetes, weight gain, asthma and acid reflux like diseases.

Patients suffering from sleep apnea have a high level of fatigue and daytime sleep which may cause road accidents and depression. Other complications include problems in focusing due to impaired cognition, decreased quality of life, eye problems like glaucoma, etc.

What are the side effects of Sleep Apnea?

It is known that sleep apnea is disturbing not only the brain but the other parts of the body too. Blockage or collapse condition of airways if left untreated then it may cause long term health complications. The process of consolidation of memories gets affected as sleep helps in it. Generally, people experience freshness after a sound sleep and patients of sleep apnea are feeling more sleepiness during day time.

Depression and mental confusion are also linked with sleep apnea whereas asthma and breathing difficulties are respiratory conditions due to sleep apnea. High levels of sugar, cholesterol and fatigue, hypertension, irregular heart rhythm, heart failure as well as decreased level of oxygen are side effects of sleep apnea.

What is a natural remedy for sleep apnea?

To fight against this condition, a primary goal set by the healthcare professionals is to reduce the weight. With the weight loss programs, people can maintain their healthy weights as well as airways also get clear if blocked due to fat deposition or muscle relaxations. It is advised to not sleep on the back and sleep by altering the body position.

Other remedies include blowing air in balloons as throat exercise, performing yoga asanas, consuming a teaspoon of honey before sleep, raising the level of head of the bed, etc. Use of humidifiers and oral appliances are also sometimes recommended in sleep apnea.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 54 years old govt employee. During official writing and official public meeting I feel more anxiety .as per doctor's advice past I was taking tab trika .25 mg in night time past 5 years .without consulting Dr. A month before I felt sleeping disorders and suicide thinking moods. that why I went to nimhns hospital bangalore. I consulted Dr. They diagnosed anxiety neuro problems. Dr. prescribed tab. Clonotril .25 mg. And t.mirzaben 15 mg in bed time .past a week sleeping I feel sleeping disturbing and unable to do routine work in my office. Pls need tmt. Adv dr.

MA Guidance and Counseling, Pursuing PG Diploma in Counseling and Family Therapy (PGDCFT) , Post Graduate diploma in counseling and Family Therapy
Psychologist, Noida
Dear Lybrate user I read your concern. I would suggest you to take counseling along with medicines for your anxiety and sleeping problem. Medicines are alright for sometime but in the long run they are not good. Medicines have side effects. But wi...

I am having anxiety, hyper sensitive nd sleep disorder. Using stalopam plus for last 2 months. Can you suggest any safe drug.

Master of Science/M.S. (Psychotherapy & Counselling), Ph.D.Neuropsychology, BA, Master of Arts (Clinical Psychology )
Psychologist, Udaipur
To manage your issues, kindly do the following exercises apart from medication when done regularly twice a day, this exercise gradually alleviates the anxiety and is a sure shot method to relieve anxiety. But should be done religiously. Make a sel...

Namaste respected sir/madam. I have been suffering from severe gastric problems since 2 years. It making me several bowel movements a day with gas and flatulence. My lower abdomen also cramp sometimes followed by urgent urge to defecate. Have been prescribed rifaximin, ppi esomeprazole, antacid, probiotics and o2 ofloxacin and ornidazole. Sometimes symptoms get relieved sometimes not. What should I do?

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Delhi
I am sorry to hear about your concern but will be happy to assist you. Indigestion, gas, bloating, hiccups, heartburn, stomach pain, ulcers, and nausea are some of the common features of gastric problems. These are basically the frequently receive...

My father is 50 years old. He often has anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and has bp, sugar, gases. As prescribed he is taking ativan 1 mg tablet daily before sleeping since 4 months. So, is it okay to continue. Because my relatives recently says, sleeping disorder medicine shouldn't be consumed in high dosage and also shouldn't be taken for more than 3 months. Is it true? Kindly suggest.

MBBS, MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Kolkata
Though opinion varies, I generally do not prefer to prescribe sleeping pills for long times. There are other medicines which are better and not addictive. You should consult a psychiatrist for detailed evaluation and treatment. Your father needs t...

Popular Health Tips

Mouth Breathing - What Can Cause It?

MBBS, MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, Chennai
Mouth Breathing - What Can Cause It?
Common causes of sleep apnea: Sleep apena is a major cause of snoring. It can be caused because of allergies, obesity, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) etc. In children sleep, apnea can also be caused by tonsil. Since the tonsil size of chil...
1451 people found this helpful

Rehabilitation Psychology In Management Of Multiple Sclerosis!

PHD Psychology
Psychologist, Chennai
Rehabilitation Psychology In Management Of Multiple Sclerosis!
Multiple sclerosis refers to disabling disease of the central nervous system, where the body s immune system eats away the protective layer sheathing the nerve fibres and disrupts communication between the brain and the rest of your body. Often, m...
3110 people found this helpful

All You Must Know About Snoring & Its Complications!

MS - Otorhinolaryngology, Diploma in Otorhinolaryngology (DLO)
ENT Specialist, Mumbai
All You Must Know About Snoring & Its Complications!
Snoring is the harsh or hoarse sound that occurs when air passes through the relaxed throat tissues this causes vibration in the tissues as you breathe. Almost everyone snores now and then, but it can be a chronic problem for some people. Sometime...
3454 people found this helpful

Myofacial Pain - How To Diagnose It?

Clinical Fellowship In Pain Management, MD - Internal Medicine, Master Of Public Health (MPH), MBBS
Pain Management Specialist, Hyderabad
Myofacial Pain - How To Diagnose It?
Myofascial pain syndrome or MPS refers to the soft tissue and muscle pain that is often accompanied by inflammation. This chronic condition affects the fascia, which is the connective tissue covering the muscles. MPS is also called referred pain. ...
4298 people found this helpful

Sleep Apnea - Know The Common Signs Of It!

MBBS, MS - ENT
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 ...
3984 people found this helpful
Play video
Sleep Disorder - Sleep Apnea
Hello, I am Dr. Manav Manchanda, Pulmonologist. Today I will talk about sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep disorders are very common in our population. Or 10% of the population has this problem at some point in life. Obstructive s...
Play video
Sleep Apnea
Hi, I am Dr. Amol Patil. I am residing and practicing in Mumbai. Today I will be speaking to you about Sleep apnea. Sleep apnea has recently come into the picture because of long term morbidity and mortality associated with the metabolic effects o...
Play video
Sleep Apnea
Hi, I am Dr. Nilesh Chinchkar, Pulmonologist. Today I will talk on sleep apnea. Apnea means stoppage of breathing. Symptoms of sleep apnea are excessive snoring, excessive day time sleepiness, lack of concentration, fatigueness, morning headache, ...
Play video
Depression
Hi, I am Dr. Naresh Mishra, Psychologist. Me aaj apko depression ke bare me btaunga. Sabse pehle ye baat hai ki depression kyu hota hai, kaise hota hai, kitne time ke lia rehta hai, iska treatment kya hai, ye sab me btaunga apko. Depression ek men...
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 apne...
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice