About Sleep Apnea


When an individual’s breathing is disrupted in sleep, the disorder is called Sleep Apnea. This condition when goes untreated can make the affected stop breathing a number of times during the sleep. This further makes the disorder more complicated doe to the inhibition of smooth oxygen to the brain and other organs of the body. Hence the treatment becomes significantly crucial, as the breathing may get obstructed numerous times while sleeping.

This can be categorized into two types as follows:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): This is the more common of the two. It happens when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses while the affected sleeps. Therefore, it causes the airways to block hence obstructing breathing.
  2. Central sleep apnea (CSA): This happens when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. The instability of the respiratory control center causes this.

All of us are susceptible to sleep apnea. However, a few risk factors that may lead to this condition are being a male, overweight, and the age above forty. Even ailments like sinus, allergies, nasal obstruction caused by a deviated septum, may result in sleep apnea. Besides these physical conditions like having a tongue that is larger than usual, a smaller jaw bone or larger tonsils also can become risk factors of this disorder.

A few of sleep apnea include experiencing a very sore or dry throat after waking up from sleep, loud snoring, waking up choked or gasping for air and even morning headaches. Further this disorder results in a restless sleep which leads to lack of energy during the day and in worst cases even insomnia.

An EEG i.e. electroencephalogram is used to measure and record brain activity and to record the heart rate, an ECG i.e. electrocardiogram is done. Other instruments are also used to monitor and record things such as muscle activity, airflow through the nose and even snoring activity.

Sleep Apnea has got various and common cures. These can begin from lifestyle changes staring from losing weight, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking, etc. Alternate treatment method is the use of CPAP, i.e. continuous positive airway pressure which ensures that the airways are open. Hence, the affected breaths regularly without any issues.

About author


Dr. Zeenath Ahmed

Dr. Zeenat completed MD (Internal Medicine) from S.C.B. Medical College, Cuttack. She has worked as a senior registrar in Sadarjung Hospital and G.B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi. She has done a fellowship in diabetes from MVDRC, Chennai. Dr. Zeenat has special interest in diabetes and thyroid diseases.

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