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Sleepy around the clock? It could signify Sleep Apnea

  • Jul 09
  • ENT

Sleep – the basic requirement and demand for an active day.

When do you sleep? 7 to 8 hours every night or around the clock? Your timings are important!! Because it has something substantial to tell you about your health. Daytime sleepiness is too miserable and appears to be on the rise. You may occasionally experience day sleepiness because of workload or deprived sleep in the previous night or intense workout. This is not a legitimate complaint and can be fixed with sound sleep for a few hours.

But some of you may wonder why I am sleepy even after a whole night’s sleep. You could be a college student or working father or businesswoman. You might also notice your co-passenger with heavy eyelids on the busy bus or your college friend nodding off his head during a boring presentation. There are so many reasons why you seem to feel sleepy all the time, one of them could be Sleep Apnea. Does it sound weird? Here is what it exactly means.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted repeatedly during sleep. Snoring is likely to be the most common symptom of Sleep Apnea although it is harmless for most people. Unexplained fatigue is another major symptom of this disorder because breathing interruptions wake them frequently and prevent them from a deep sleep.

Types of Sleep Apnea:
There are three types of Sleep Apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: It is more common and caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea: This sleep apnea does not allow the airway to get blocked, but it causes the brain not to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control centre.
Mixed Sleep Apnea: As the name implies, it is a combination of both Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea.

Red Flags for Sleep Apnea
Consider the following symptoms and if they apply to you, it might be time for some attention:

  • During sleep, abnormal breathing patterns can be observed
  • Shortness of breath with abrupt awakenings
  • Shortness of breath getting relieved by sitting up
  • A sore throat or dry mouth while awakening
  • Awakening with chest pain
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Mood changes
  • Morning headaches
  • Loud Snoring
  • Having High blood pressure

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: It occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax more than normal. Breathing may be inadequate for 10 to 20 seconds as the airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. You may not be aware of the sleep interruption and feel well slept all night.

Central Sleep Apnea: It occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles. The causes vary with the type of central sleep apnea you have

  • Cheyne-Stokes breathing
  • Drug-induced apnea
  • High-altitude periodic breathing
  • Complex sleep apnea
  • Medical condition-induced central sleep apnea
  • Idiopathic (primary) central sleep apnea

Risk factors of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Being overweight
  • Having a large neck
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having a narrowed airway
  • Having chronic nasal congestion
  • Having diabetes
  • Being male
  • Being black
  • Being 18 to 16 year old
  • Having a family history of sleep apnea
  • Smoking
  • Using alcohol

Central Sleep Apnea

  • Sex
  • Being more than 65 years old
  • Heart disorders
  • Stroke or brain tumour
  • High altitude
  • Opioid use
  • CPAP

You might not even aware that you have this sleep disorder, but untreated sleep apnea is directly tied to various risks like

  • Cardiovascular problems: This happens because of sudden oxygen level drops in the blood which raises the blood pressure.
  • Daytime fatigue: The multiple awakening without deep sleep results in daytime fatigue. This impairs quality of work at the office, poor scores in school/college and even relationship.
  • Complications with medications and surgery: Some medications like general anaesthesia, sedatives, and narcotic analgesics relax your upper airway and may worsen this disorder.
  • Eye problems: People may be prone to a few eye-related conditions like Glaucoma and others which can be treated.
  • Sleep-deprived partners: Loud snoring disturbs bed partners sleep as well which eventually disrupt their relationship.

Other complications may also include morning headaches, memory problems, a need to urinate frequently at night (nocturia), and feelings of depression or mood swings.
To reduce the burden of sleep apnea globally, it is necessary to spread awareness and make health check-ups a regular one. You should always consult your doctor if you’re experiencing sleep disorders because you may need expert help to get a good nights rest. It needs to be addressed more solemnly now than ever before. At Fortis Bangalore, our ENT specialists understand your sleep problems and make you feel bright-eyed every day. Book an appointment and get yourselves screened and make way for an active life.

About Fortis

With 28 hospitals across the nation and over 4000+ beds, Fortis Healthcare Limited is a leading integrated healthcare delivery service provider in India. For over 26 years, Fortis Hospitals have been committed to the cause of getting people back to their lives faster and stronger.

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