The brain responds to the lack of oxygen by alerting the body Causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. (File Photo: AFP)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or Complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe. It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of thethroat to collapse and block the upper airway This leads to partial reductions (hypopneas) and, Complete pauses (apneas) in breathing that last atleast 10secs during sleep. Most pauses last between 10-30secs, but some persist even 1 minute or longer. This can lead to abrupt reductions in blood oxygen saturation with oxygen levels falling as much as 40% or more inSevere Cases.

The brain responds to the lack of oxygen by alerting the body Causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. This pattern can Occur hundreds of times in one night. The result is fragmented quality of sleep that often leads to excessivedaytime sleepiness.

Most Common symptoms are:

LoudSnoring- Not all Snoring is OSA, however all OSApatients haveSnoring

Awakening due to gasping or choking

Witnessed pauses breathing

Restless sleep

Morning Sore throat / dry mouth

Frequent restroom visits

Early morning headache

Excessive daytime fatigue & sleepiness

Depression / Irritability

Poor Concentration.

Risk factors for OSA

Obese / overweight individuals

Older age


Hypertension / high BP

Chronic nasal Congestion



Male gender


Daytime fatigue & sleepiness-poor performance

Higher risk of road accidents/work related accidents-

Cardio Vascular Problems

Risk for coronary heart disease, heart attacks artery failure & strokes, increases.

Rick of arrhythmias leading to Sudden death.

Sleep deprived partners - disruption inrelationships.


A sleep study (polysomnography) Can be conducted to diagnose OSA ether in the confines of your home / in a sleep lab.


Continuous Positive airway pressure (CPAP) devicework best to treat OSA inmost peoplewherein

positive pressure is pumped in through a mask to keep the airway open while you sleep

Losing excessive weight may also be an option to treat OSA .

Surgical options may not completely - abate OSA have long term side effects.

Contact your sleep specialist:

  • If Snoring is so loud to interfere others sleep
  • Waking up gasping or choking
  • Pauses in your of breathing while are you asleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue & lack of Concentration while at work / while driving.

Dr. Roopa Rachel Premanand, Consultant - Pulmonologist, Kauvery Hospitals- Electronic City, Bengaluru.

Source link