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Overview

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
Symptoms
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

4 Most Common Sleep Disorders

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, Fellow In Pain Management, DM - Neurology
Neurologist, Gurgaon
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!

2838 people found this helpful

Pulmonary Disorder: Obstructive Sleep Apnea

MBBS, MD -Pulmonary Medicine-Tuberculosis ,Respiratory Disease Medicine , Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), European Diploma in Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi
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Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a disease which interrupts sleep by stopping and starting one's breathing. It actually causes snoring and choking or gasping during sleep.

2639 people found this helpful

Sleep Disorders - How Occupational Therapy Can Help In Treating It?

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (BOT), Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Occupational Therapist, Gurgaon
Sleep Disorders - How Occupational Therapy Can Help In Treating It?

Wrinkles and fine lines aren’t the only changes that occur with age; your sleep cycle is affected as well. It is a common misconception that the amount of sleep you need declines with age. Sleep needs remain constant throughout our adult lives but with age, people often find it increasingly difficult to fall asleep and have trouble staying asleep. Not getting enough sleep can trigger other conditions and hence it is essential to have a good night’s sleep.

Occupational therapy is often used to treat sleep disorders faced by elderly people. With the help of bedding management, sleep hygiene and choosing the right nightclothes they reduce involuntary napping and help patients regulate their sleep wake cycle. They also train patients on how to use equipment such as a sleep apnea machine to facilitate better quality of sleep. Analysing the problem is the first step by occupational therapist use to developing sleep routines. Here are a few common sleep problems that are experienced by people as they age.

  1. InsomniaWanting to go to bed earlier at night and waking up early in the morning is a normal effect of aging. With age, you may also feel the need for an afternoon nap to supplement your sleep. There are many conditions that could trigger insomnia in the elderly. Primary amongst these are stress, poor sleeping conditions, lack of exercise, side effects of medications, menopause and pain or medical conditions.
  2. Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea can be defined as breathing that stops for a few seconds or minutes while asleep. Along with age, being overweight also puts people at a risk of suffering from sleep apnea. 
  3. Restless leg syndrome: The need to continuously move your leg is known as restless leg syndrome. This is often accompanied by throbbing, itching, pain, cramping or burning in the legs that can be relieved by movement. These symptoms are more acute at night make falling asleep difficult. 
  4. Periodic limb movement disorder: Many people move their limbs while asleep without realizing it. With age, this condition can worsen with movements lasting for anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours through the night making him wake up tired and irritable. 
  5. Circadian rhythm sleep disorders: Circadian rhythm is the natural wake-sleep pattern followed by a person. With age, this pattern gets disturbed due to changes in hormone levels, activity levels and social activities. For many people this results in shorter sleep cycles and can cause sleep deficiency.
  6. REM behavior disorder: In very rare cases, people act out their dreams. Though this movement is uncontrolled, it differs from sleep walking as the person is most likely to remember the dream on waking up.

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

4654 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!

3014 people found this helpful

Snoring - 9 Ways To Help You Control It!

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Bangalore
Snoring - 9 Ways To Help You Control It!

About a 45 percent of adults snore occasionally, and although most people tend to ignore it, snoring is a problem that must be dealt with consideration. There are many families where one spouse snores and keeps the other person from a good night’s sleep. It has been reported that snoring can create severe disputes in marriage and one who snores must take steps to control snoring.

Snoring is not simply a nuisance, but a major proportion of individuals who snore are affected with obstructive sleep apnea by which breathing is disrupted while a person is fast asleep. This condition increases the risk of heart diseases. Fortunately, there are ways to control a person's snoring.

  1. Weight loss: Having a large neck circumference and being overweight increases the risk of pushing the fat down at the throat resulting in snoring. With a suitable weight loss training, one can control the snoring to a considerable extent.
  2. Altering sleep positions: Sleeping on the sides help in forbidding the tongue from resting backwards and blocking the throat while sleeping. Some specially created pillows can help the individuals from rolling back during sleep.
  3. Limit alcohol intake: Drinking alcohol contributes to further relaxation of muscles in the airways and collapse the path which makes snoring even worse. Limiting consumption of alcohol and avoiding to drink it at least 4 to 5 hours before going to bed can reduce snoring to a significant extent.
  4. Stop smoking: Smoking invariably leads to nasal congestion as well as inflammation which in turn worsen snoring. If one is running out of reasons to avoid smoking, then this is one of the most convincing reasons to quit smoking and enjoy overall good health.
  5. Certain medications: There are some medicines, particularly sedatives and antihistamines are designed to have a relaxing effect and can, therefore, aggravate snoring. But it is advised to consult with the general physician before making any alterations in the medicine routine.
  6. Avoid opening the mouth: Those who are aware of snoring with the mouth open must avoid opening the mouth during sleep by using a specifically designed tape or adhesive for closing shut the mouth while sleeping.
  7. Using specialised device: The mandibular advancement device is specifically crafted for those who suffer from tongue-based snoring. This equipment helps in moving the jaw forward as well as prevent the tongue from blocking the backside of the throat while sleeping.
  8. Avoid nasal collapse: Those who suffer from nasal collapse must use some form of adhesive nasal dilator strip which has to be placed over the nose. This would aid in keeping the airways open as well as reduce snoring.
  9. Treat allergies: Inflammation, as well as nasal congestion triggered by allergies, is a common cause of snoring while sleeping. One must opt to do an allergy test to identify and reduce potential allergens in the area where the individual sleeps such as bedding type, pet hair, dust mites, wheat or dairy intolerance and lessen snoring.

Thus, snoring can be controlled before it becomes a problem. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

5003 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I am sleep apnea patient and using resmed cpap with nasal mask but than too sometimes I feels sleepy at day time and sometimes my pulse rate increases.

DHMS (Hons.)
Homeopath, Patna
Hello, Need to monitor your weight, first. Go for meditation to calm your nerves to reduce your stress to check sleep apoenia. Your diet be easily digestible on time to check your weight. Take, plenty of water to hydrate your body. Take homoeopathic medicine:@ Calcarea carb 200-5 drops, thrice. Take care.
1 person found this helpful

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.

Other than nashya karma, is there any other type of treatment available in curing sleep apnea.

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Yes there is. But we need to diagnose sleep apnoea. This requires full symptoms history and examination followed by a sleep study if the initial history, questionnaires are indicative. These include oral /nasal devices and positive pressure devices. Nasal /oral medicines. Please take a consult.

I have sleep apnea with AHl=25. In spite of all my heart related parameters being normal I observe that my heart rate is always above 90 bpm even when I am completely relaxed. Is there a relation between sleep apnea and heart rate?

MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
Upto 100 it is considered normal... You should take good diet. Regular exercise...etc..to stay healthy..
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can be classified into two types:

Treatment and Diganosis :

Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice