On 15 February 2022, we lost the noted singer Bappi Lahiri to sleep apnea, more specifically Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It is a medical condition that not everyone may be aware of. However, experts have witnessed a constant rise in the number of cases of sleep apnea. Hence, it is time that we sit up and take notice of this condition and know about it in detail so that we can prevent it as much as possible.
In conversation with TC46, Dr Preyas Vaidya Consultant—Pulmonologist & Sleep Medicine Expert, Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai—talks elaborately about sleep apnoea and offers guidance on effective preventive measures for the medical condition.
1. What is sleep apnea?
The term ‘sleep apnea’ means a stoppage of breathing during sleep. There are brief pauses in breathing, along with a drop in blood oxygen levels during sleep. The most common types of sleep apnea are Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnea.
2. What are some signs and symptoms of the medical condition?
The prevalent symptoms of the medical condition are as below:
- Stoppage of breathing during sleep
- Choking during sleep
- Waking up tired or unrefreshed
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Nocturia (increased urination during night)
3. What are its causes?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by the collapse of the upper airway during sleep. It is common in overweight and obese people but can also happen in non-obese people. Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the impulse to initiate breathing in sleep.
4. What are the types of sleep apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea are the most common types of sleep apnea.
5. Can sleep apnea lead to other medical conditions?
Sleep Apnoea could cause cardiovascular problems, Dyslipidemia, Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, neurological problems, mood disturbances, and some psychiatric problems.
6. What are some risk factors that can make you prone to sleep apnea?
The possible risk factors of sleep apnea are:
- Being overweight
- Hereditary or genetic factors
- Metabolic Syndrome, etc.
7. How is it diagnosed?
Overnight Polysomnography (sleep study) must be done to make an appropriate diagnosis.
8. What are the non-surgical treatment options for sleep apnea?
Positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy is the current gold standard treatment along with diet and weight loss.
9. What are the surgical treatment options for sleep apnea?
Known upper airway obstruction can be corrected surgically. Mandibular advancement devices can be offered. These are usually reserved for people who do not tolerate Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Therapy.
10. What is the lifestyle treatment available for sleep apnea?
Diet, exercise, and weight loss for overweight and obese people are recommended. If you fail to lose weight, consult a bariatric surgeon should also be considered. However, a significant number of people may require PAP Therapy even after bariatric surgery.