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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Oct 24
  • General Medicine

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep-related respiratory condition characterized by episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep. Though sleep apnea occurs in different types, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. This type of apnea happens when airflow in the airway significantly ceases or decreases due to intermittent relaxation of the muscles in the throat. The sufferers experience loud disruptive snoring which can also be noticed by their bed partners.

There are various treatment methods available to address this sleep disorder. The first option involves employing a device which creates positive air pressure to keep the patient’s throat open while he/she is asleep. The second option involves fitting a mouthpiece to thrust the patient’s lower jaw forward during his/her sleep. When this first-line of treatments don’t bring fruitful results, then surgery can be considered.

Symptoms
Symptoms are not only limited to loud snoring but also includes

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Noticed episodes of breathing interruptions during sleep
  • Awakening abruptly with gasping or choking
  • Dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Experiencing unusual moodiness like depression or irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Night time sweating
  • Decreased libido

When to visit your doctor?

  • Seeking medical attention is important if the following signs are experienced by you or noticed by your partner.
  • Snoring loud enough to interrupt your or bed partners sleep
  • Waking up gasping or choking
  • Noticeable intermittent pauses in your breathing throughout the sleep
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness which makes staying awake hard while driving or working

Many people cannot differentiate between snoring caused by sleep apnea and regular snoring, which often results in neglecting this serious symptom. It is also to be understood that not all people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea. Understand how serious and harming your snoring can be and be sure to consult your health care provider if you experience it. Obstructive sleep apnea makes your snore more audible and louder when you sleep on your back than on your sides.

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