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By Dr K Ravi Teja
Consultant Pulmonologist
Published on 14/10/2022

Overview

Obstructive sleep apnea(OSA) is most common sleep disorder characterized by repetitive episodes of nocturnal breathing cessation due to upper airway collapse. It is a complex disease with numerous clinical manifestations.


Symptoms:

Typical symptoms are

  • Heavy snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Witnessed apneas and gasping.

There are subgroups of individuals who do not complain about these typical symptoms, instead present with other atypical symptoms such as morning headache, bruxism, nocturia, chronic cough, and dysphagia. Because of these symptoms, OSA often remains undiagnosed. OSA can coexist with or be triggered by other intrinsic sleep disorders, such as chronic insomnia disorder, nightmares, restless leg syndrome, and periodic limb movement disorder.

Symptoms of Sleep disorders

General symptoms of sleep disorders are:

  • Difficulty falling asleep during night
  • Constant tiredness during daytime
  • Unusual breathing patterns
  • Lack of focus
  • Depression
  • Limb movements while asleep
  • Unexplained anxiousness or irritable behavior
  • A sudden weight gain
  • Poor performance at work or school

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis of OSA is made by polysomnography/sleep study.

Apnea hypopnea index(ahi) is used to define the severity of OSA.

Treatment:

  • OSA is treated by conservative management like weight reduction, avoiding alcohol, and sleep pills for mild cases.
  • For moderate and severe cases, mechanical therapy like continuous positive airway pressure(CPAP) and bi-level positive airway pressure(BiPAP) and
  • Other surgical options are available, like somnoplasty, tonsillectomy, uvulo palato pharyngoplasty, nasal surgery, and mandibular/ maxillary advancement surgery.

OSA can result in various health conditions, including hypertension, heart failure, arrhythmias, diabetes mellitus, obesity, cognitive impairment, mood changes, and heart attacks.