SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea

    •  Condition in which breathing stops for a brief duration while you are asleep. These episodes are known as apnoeic episodes. Your body wakes you up to resume breathing.
    •  If you are suffering from sleep apnea you will experience that the normal flow of air is stopped multiple times through the night.
    •  Causes episodes of decreased oxygen supply to the brain and other parts of the body resulting in poor sleep quality resulting in daytime sleepiness and reduced alertness.

    Types of sleep apnea:

  •  Obstructive: most common
  •  Central: the brain does not signal the respiratory muscles to breathe.
  •  Mixed: combination of obstructive and central

    Patients at risk:

  •  Children with large tonsils and adenoids
  •  Obesity
  •  Large tongue
  •  Short lower jaw
  •  Narrow palate

    Diagnosis:

  •  Complete history and physical examination
  •  Questionnaire regarding daytime sleepiness and quality of sleep
  • Polysomnograph or sleep study to determine the number of episodes of apnea during the night. The following are measured with the help of sensors:

  •  Brain activity
  •  Eye movement
  •  Muscle activity
  •  Heart rate and rhythm
  •  Respiratory rate
  •  Oxygen levels in your blood

    Management:

  •  Advised weight loss
  •  Lifestyle modification in patients with mild snoring
  •  Patient encouraged to sleep on one side or propped up.
  •  Regular sleeping time
  •  Avoiding alcohol before bedtime
  •  Treatment of the underlying cause
  •  Guard in the mouth to position your tongue and keep your airway open
  •  Surgery to stiffen the palate and reduce snoring
  •  Surgery to correct the nasal bone if the deviation is narrowing the cavity and resulting in snoring
  •  Tonsils may be removed if they are markedly enlarged narrowing the airway and is causing snoring
  •  Use of CPAP or BiPAP machines that direct pressurised air into your airway to eliminate snoring and episodes of sleep apnea
  •  Tracheostomy, a hole in the windpipe may be the last resort in some patients as it bypasses obstruction in the upper airway

    Effects of sleep apnea on the body:

  •  Since you wake up multiple times unable to breathe, you may be exhausted and drowsy the following day. It may affect your daily activities, and you may feel extra tired at all times.
  •  Difficulty concentrating
  •  Accidents at the work place or while driving
  •  High blood pressure
  •  Heart disease
  •  Diabetes
  •  Headaches
  •  COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease where your lungs are affected and you are short of breath.
  •  Your heartburn and GERD may feel worse