Sleep apnea is a serious disorder which results due to the interruption of breathing during sleep. Sometimes the interruption can be as much as a hundred times less breathes than normal. Consequently, the brain and the rest of the body do not get sufficient oxygen supply. This impacts the quality of life of the person and also increases the risk of developing serious medical conditions.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that often goes undiagnosed as it is difficult to detect the condition. Also, blood tests do not help in diagnosing sleep apnea. A member of the family or a bed partner is the first person who may notice the signs of this condition.
The symptoms which are commonly experienced by people with sleep apnea include:
Based on the causes, sleep apnea is of two types:
Sleep apnea can occur in people of any age group but is more common after the age of 40 years. The other risk factors include:
If sleep apnea is left untreated it can lead to the below complications:
Additionally, people with sleep apnea show poor performance in daily activities.
When someone complains of the symptoms associated with sleep apnea, the doctor performs a sleep apnea test known as a polysomnogram. This test electronically records the physical activities while the person sleeps. The reports are helpful in determining if the person has sleep apnea or other sleep disorder.
Further testing as detailed below may be necessary to choose the right treatment:
If the person is suffering from mild sleep apnea then changes in the lifestyle are sufficient. If the condition does not improve, then the below treatment options are chosen based on the cause of sleep apnea:
If nasal allergies are the cause, then medicines will be provided to treat the allergy.
The doctor may recommend the use of certain devices to keep the airways open. These include:
In some cases surgery may be necessary. Surgical options include:
The below bedtime tips can prevent sleep apnea to a large extent:
Additionally, certain throat exercises as suggested by the doctor, which can be performed at home.
Lifestyle changes which help to reduce the risk of developing sleep apnea are:
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Manika Saha, a patient from West Bengal got in touch with Dr. Venugopal Subramaniam, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Manipal Hospitals Whitefield through the OPD clinic programme and then later was guided by him towards a brain tumour removal in Whitefield, Bengaluru which gave her vision back.
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