Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder which is also known as apnoea. It is one of the most common sleep disorders where the upper airways in the throat are obstructed. In this disorder, there are repetitive pauses in breathing while the person is sleeping.
OSA is very common and serious as well. The blocked airway limits the air reaching the lungs and the person tries harder to breath. This causes the person to snore loudly and make choke sounds. The blood and brain becomes oxygen deprived causing you to wake up again and again. In severe cases, this can happen more than 100 times per night.
OSA is also associated with reduction of blood saturation due to insufficient breathing. The small pause of 20-40 seconds in breathing is called "apneas". People with OSA are not aware about their condition and could not relate to breathing problems. This illness is often seen as a issue of snoring. People who are single and often sleep alone could not identify the presence of illness while people with partners can easily see the symptoms and hence the issue is identified earlier.
OSA and recurrent tonsillitis (RT) are sometimes confused to be same, but both of them are very different from each other. RT although, when severe, can cause airway obstructions.
How the OSA is classified?
- Mild OSA has 5-14 episodes an hour.
- Moderate OSA has 15-30 episodes an hour.
- Severe OSA has greater than 30 episodes an hour.
Causes and Severity of OSA
The causes of OSA are related to the old age issues, brain surgery where they can be temporary or permanent and decreased muscle tone. If OSA is left untreated it leads to tiring daytime sleepiness, headaches, depression, and general unhealthy feeling. It can even cause high blood pressure, other lifestyle diseases like strokes, heart attack, diabetes, etc. after prolonged illness.
How can I get Treatment of OSA?
There are some lifestyle changes which are necessary for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
- Cut down alcohol and smoking
- Say no to medication which relaxes the central nervous system like sedatives.
- Control your weight since overweight can increase the symptoms.
- Mandibular advancement devices can be used to cause the night seep relief.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is also one of the most recommended solution for sleep apnea.
- Surgery and Oral changes
Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.
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