What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a very common disorder. According to a study by AIIMS, The Times of India reports: Approximately 13% Indians are under threat of obstructive sleep apnea. But most suffering from sleep apnea remain undiagnosed and untreated; primarily because of unawareness.
There are several types of Sleep Apnea (sleep-disordered breathing), of which obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common. Most patients with OSA snore, but not all. It is estimated that approximately 1 in every 5 adults has some degree of OSA. People over the age of 40 are more likely to develop the condition; but individuals of all ages may be affected, even children.
Sleep apnea causes your airway to collapse or become blocked during sleep resulting in the breathing to stop or become very shallow during sleep. Breathing may stop for 10 seconds or longer. Normal breathing starts again with a loud snort or choking sound. People are forced to wake up for a few seconds in order to regain normal breathing. Most are unaware that they have woken up. Obese people are particularly at risk of having OSA because the extra fat pushes against the throat muscles.
OSA occurs in cycles. Snoring, which is just a symptom, when it grows increasingly louder, then stops as you stop breathing. After a few moments of silence, your brain will notice that you’re no longer receiving oxygen, and will wake your body enough to breathe again, restarting the cycle. People with the condition actually stop breathing up to 400 times throughout the night. These pauses last 10 to 30 seconds, and they're usually followed by a snort when breathing starts again. When this condition prevails, your brain and body are prevented from sleeping deep enough to rest and regenerate.
Experts say that the main causes of OSA are:
- • Old age
- • Temporary or permanent brain injury
- • Decreased muscle tone - could be caused by drugs, alcohol, a neurological problem, or some other disorder.
- • Excess soft tissue around the airway; common with obese patients
- • Something physical in the throat or mouth/jaw shape
If you are facing any symptoms of Sleep Apnea, or difficulty in breathing while sleeping, consult a sleep therapist on Apex Medicalcorp’s panel for guidance today.