"WHEN SLEEP IS SOUND , HEALTH AND HAPPINESS ABOUND" Sound sleep is a treasured function, and one of the pillars of health along with balanced diet and adequate exercise. Most sleep disorders are preventable and treatable, yet less than one third of patients with these disorders seek professional help. Sleep problems constitute a global epidemic that threatens health and quality of life of upto 45% of world population. Better understanding of sleep problems and knowledge of adverse events associated with lack of sound sleep will reduce the sleep burden in the society.
WHAT IS OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA (OSA)? Among various sleep disorders OSA is the most common, which is caused when the upper throat muscles relax too much during sleep, restricting the airway.
This leads to drop in oxygen levels in blood, signaling the same to brain and this leads to awakening which is sometimes expressed as a choking sensation by the patient.
The individual thus wakes up just enough to open up the throat again and this cycle repeats several times in a night and individual fails to remember these episodes in the morning. People with moderate to severe sleep apnea may be waking up hundreds of times every night without knowing it.
HOW DOES THE PATIENT COME TO KNOW WHETHER HE/SHE IS HAVING OSA? 1) Loud and frequent snoring. 2) Feeling of choking /gasping during sleep. 3) Sleepiness / fatigue during day. 4) Difficulty in concentrating. - If the answer for more than one question here is yes, then it is more likely that you are suffering from sleep apnea.
Untreated OSA can lead to heart conditions like heart attack, heart rhythm disorders and high blood pressure. Poor alertness due to lack of quality of sleep can cause reduced concentration, decreased productivity at work/school and even motor vehicular accidents.
How to diagnose and treat these patients?
Sleep apnea is diagnosed using an overnight Polysomnography (PSG). PSG is conducted in a sleep laboratory. Several monitoring devices continuously measure breathing, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, limb movements and more. An overnight sleep study in an accredited laboratory is considered definitive in the diagnosis of OSA.