Sleep Apnea: Effects on Health and Recommended Guidance

Sleep apnea and its treatment in Goa

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that results in major health concerns involving high blood pressure and related heart disease if not treated appropriately. It is known as a severe sleep disorder in which an individual feels difficulty in breathing. An individual who snores loudly and feels tired even after sleeping a full night tends to have sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea may affect anyone, but the elderly population and obsessive people are at higher risk for sleep apnea. The breathing rate of the individual is interrupted during sleep. It may cause several health issues involving high blood pressure, stroke, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, diabetes, and heart attacks. 

Types of Sleep apnea

  • Obstructive Sleep apnea

It is the most common type that occurs in the condition when throat muscles relax.

  • Central Sleep apnea

It usually occurs in conditions when the brain is not capable of sending appropriate signals to the muscles controlling breathing.

  • Complex Sleep apnea Syndrome

It occurs in the condition when someone has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Who is affected by Sleep apnea?

The statistics reveal that almost 25% of men and nearly 10% of women are suffering from sleep apnea. Even infants and children are suffering from sleep apnea as all age groups are prone to it. It is represented by physical traits and clinical characteristics that are mostly common among patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. These mainly include overweight, large neck and structural abnormalities; reduced diameter of the upper airway involving nasal obstruction, low-hanging soft palate, enlarged tonsils, and a small-sized jaw with overbite.

Cause of Sleep apnea

The cause of the occurrence of obstructive sleep apnea is due to the airway blockage in the condition when soft tissues located in the throat collapse during sleep. The occurrence of central sleep apnea is caused by dysfunction of the central nervous system involving stroke in patients who have neuromuscular diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is most common in patients who have heart failure and related kidney, heart, and lung diseases.

Effects of Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea, if not treated, results in causing various health issues such as hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, diabetes, obesity, and heart attacks. The chances of the occurrence of arrhythmias and heart failure are high due to high blood pressure as the patient already suffers from sleep apnea. Hence, sleep apnea has affected almost 50% of the population, with a prevalence of heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Some of the other adverse conditions due to sleep apnea involve:

  • Repeated conditions of oxygen lowering (often called hypoxia) 

  • Alterations in the level of carbon dioxide 

  • Direct impact on the heart due to changing pressure in the chest region

  • Increased levels of markers of inflammation

Treating Sleep apnea problems

Sleep apnea is treatable. The Sleep apnea Treatment majorly focuses on changing the lifestyle of the affected individual along with the recommendation of wearing a breathing device while sleeping. Some of the important guidelines for coping with sleep apnea include:

  • Modification and adapting to a healthy lifestyle such as a good diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking. 

  • Use of a breathing device involving a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, wearing a mask over the nose and mouth to provide the passage of continuous air while sleeping. 

  • Use of mouthpieces to temporarily reposition the jaw and tongue to allow air to flow through during sleep.

  • Undergoing mouth and facial muscle therapy helps in improving the position of the tongue and providing strength to the facial muscles. 

  • Changing one's diet and engaging in physical activities can help with coping with symptoms and reducing the severity and complexities of sleep apnea. 

  • Regular visits to the Best Interventional pulmonologist in Goa to ensure appropriate treatment is provided.

Hence, a good sleep helps the individual’s body to stay active, revitalize and stay healthy. If no proper sleep is taken, the person tends to be unhealthy and their well-being is at risk. Therefore, simple changes in the lifestyle and treatment help in providing better sleep to the individual with better well-being.

Dr. Prabhu Prasad N C

Consultant - Interventional Pulmonology

Manipal Hospitals, Goa

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