Who is affected ?

OSA or more commonly known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a disorder that occurs in people from any age group but mostly seen in people of older age. This is the kind of the disorder in a person when there is a certain kind of signalling problem in the brain for the breathing organs through the nerves, as a result of which there occur serious Problems in Breathing for the patient concerned.

This is a very common disorder among many people where during sleeping; their upper portion of the airway gets blocked due to certain reasons repeatedly. The upper portion of the air track gets blocked due to various reasons and as a result of which the person suffers from great difficulty in falling asleep. There arise several other problems as well in these cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Due to repeated obstruction in the process of breathing for a prolonged period of time, the brain starts getting wrong signals and in turn gives wrong signals to the nerves who in turn give wrong signals to other organs. The brain gets confused as and when to send breathing signals.

Due to the repeated disturbance in breathing, in case of severe obstructive sleep apnea, the patient finds it really difficult to breathe properly. There can be various reasons for a person to get affected and suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea.

Obesity, endocrine disorders, large tonsils, premature birth, heart or kidney failure, Neuromuscular conditions and genetic syndromes can be potential causes of obstructive sleep apnea. As it is understood from the causes, it is seen that obstructive sleep apnea can occur in people of all age in general. A person may have had earlier cases of sleep apnoea in his family from previous generations which might be a case of the occurrence of sleep apnoea. If the person suffers from obesity, along with many other dangerous diseases, sleep apnea is something that can occur to him.

Large tonsils put by far a large amount of extra pressure on a person’s air track which in turn provides obstruction on the nasal cavity. That causes sleep apnoea which further results in snoring in a person. Sometimes premature birth can let the body of the infant to have not developed in a proper way which in future leads to problems of sleep apnoea as there is always an extra pressure on the air track.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea results in the person gasping for breath during the occurrence of the problem. It leads to disturbance of regular breathing which makes the person snore loudly. Obstructive sleep apnea causes reduced or absent breathing in a person which can be a cause of the great problem. As the person is unable to sleep properly not only at night but during any particular time he wants, it leads to the person feeling sleepy at all times and thus making mistakes in work. Sleep Apnea can also affect various other parts of a person’s body. In order to get rid of it, proper treatment and medication is a must. And maintaining a healthy lifestyle is needed.

Diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea ( Sleep Apnea Test )

Diagnosis of OSA involves thorough physical examination and complete history taking of the patient. Physical examination includes:

  • Physical examination includes the examination of the back of throat, mouth and nose for extra tissue or abnormalities, measurement of the neck and waist circumference, weight imbalance.

  • Radiographic examination includes Lateral Cephalogram to look for airway patency,

  • Airway CBCT Volumetry

  • Extra-oral and Intra-oral examination

  • STOP-BANG Questionnaire

  • Postural examination

  • Sleep study (HST- Home Sleep Test or PSG- Polysomnogarphy)

The most important reading from this sleep report would be the AHI (Apnoea-Hypopnea Index) and the number of desaturations. It involves overnight monitoring of the breathing and other body functions of the patient including:

  • Airflow

  • Blood oxygen levels

  • Breathing patterns

  • Electrical activity of the brain

  • Eye movements

  • Heart rate

  • Muscle activity

  • Snoring events

Authored By : Dr. Rajesh Raveendranathan

  • Bangalore
  • Delhi



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