Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Reluctant stoppage of breathing while asleep is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). When the breathing stops for some time, it is called apnea or apneic episode. Some people have narrow airway space in their throats which result in the stoppage of breathing repeatedly throughout the night.
Snoring is an evident and common OSA trait.
Sleep apnea when left ignored and untreated can cause:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart diseases

Symptoms

Obstructive sleep apnea results in poor sleep quality which in turn gives rise to daytime drowsiness and confusion in the morning. People having OSA can have the following symptoms:

  • Long-lasting headaches
  • Loss of attention in the sex
  • Poor job and school performance
  • Feeling grumpy and getting irritated easily
  • Absentmindedness
  • Deterioration of depression

Causes

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: It is the most known type of sleep apnea. It is the obstruction in the airway resulting in breathing problems while sleeping.
  • Central Sleep Apnea: Airway isn’t blocked but the signal from the brain telling the respiratory muscles to breathe is not generated.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea: This is a combination of the above two types. This is, obviously, the worst type.

The following are the risk factors of OSA:

  • Collar size of more than 17 inches or more in men.
  • Collar size of more than 16 inches or more in women.
  • Big tonsils and adenoids in children
  • Large tongue blocking the respiratory airway.

Treatments

Treatment methods include:

  • Weight Loss: Weight loss can be one of the best reliefs from the symptoms of OSA.
  • Nasal Decongestants: It helps in mild OSA and helps get rid of snoring.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP):  CPAP is done through a facemask that you have to wear at night while you sleep. It keeps the airway open by gently delivering positive airflow throughout the night.
  • Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP or BPAP): It is used when CPAP doesn’t work on you. Its function is in its name: It provides positive pressure to the airway.
  • Positional Therapy: People who sleep on their backs have more chance of having sleep apnea. One of the simple treatments of OSA is to learn and change the position in which you sleep.

Surgery

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): It is the removal of extra tissues from your throat. UPPP is a common surgery and relieves one from snoring.
  • Tracheostomy: In Tracheostomy, opening in the windpipe is punctures curing the obstruction in the throat.
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