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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Can Your Night Breathing Problems Constitute Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

About

A sleep disorder causing the breathing to stop and start repeatedly.

Totally, 2%-4% of the population is affected by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in which middle-aged men are most prone to it. (1)

- Treatable by medical professionals
- Medically diagnosed
- Laboratory tests and imaging are required
- Chronic: Lasts for years or for life

The airflow reduces or ceases because of a partial/complete collapse of the upper airway. This stimulates increased breathing efforts causing the person to awaken. There are sound associations between OSA and high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and affects the quality of life.

Symptoms

Medically-diagnosable

Most people do not realise that they are affected, and they do not get proper treatment. Partners and family should thus be vigilant.

People may experience

Snoring: Loud, preceded by periods of silence or gasping.
Abrupt awakenings: With a sore throat or dry mouth.
Headache: In mornings
Sleepiness: Excessive in daytime
Mental issues: Mood swings, irritation, lack of concentration, depression
High blood pressure
Nighttime sweating
Decreased libido

Treatment

Self-care: Exercise regularly and lose weight if you are overweight. Avoid sleeping on back, quit smoking, and limit alcohol.

Medications: Various central nervous system stimulants can be taken for the helping ease the condition.

Specialists: The primary treatment involves the continuous positive airway pressure therapy or oral appliance therapy depending on the severity. These prevent airway collapse and daytime symptoms resolve shortly. Options such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, tracheostomy, and craniofacial reconstruction are there for those who wish to resort to surgical treatment.

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