“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama
There are millions of things that might bring pleasure or relaxation to humans but one has to inevitably admit that ‘A Good Nights Sleep’ is one of the most satisfying things one can experience. It’s not just important but a NEED for the efficient functioning of one’s body. While many of us think that we have spent our 7-8 hrs on the bed and slept well, there might be an unknown disorder that you are facing and unaware of.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea – one of the most common sleep disorders afflicting approximately 20 million adults with an estimated 80% o[N1] f cases going undiagnosed.. The Greek word “apnea” means “without breath.” Sleep apnea is an involuntary suspension of breathing that occurs while the patient is asleep. Most of us may be unaware that sleep apnea might be the root cause of several sprouting health disorders. If untreated for a long period this might lead to serious consequences.
It is a condition that causes occasional cessation of breath during sleep causing one to snore loudly or create choking noises while trying to breathe. The body slowly becomes deprived of oxygen and makes the patient wake up abruptly. It is a common yet serious disorder that might even cause one to stop breathing once or even a hundred times during a course of sleep. The airway repeatedly becomes blocked, limiting the quantity of air that reaches your lungs.
Sleep apnea has 3 forms: Central sleep apnea (CSA) in which the pauses are due to the brain failing to signal the respiratory system to breathe; obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in which breathing is paused by a physical blockage in the upper airways, often caused by soft tissues of the throat and tongue collapsing into the airway; and complex/mixed sleep apnea which is a conjunction of CSA and OSA.
Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:
Snoring: Loud, chronic snoring is the most common symptom of apnea. it’s caused by partial blockage or obstructions as air is being restricted from moving easily through the airways.
Frequent breaks or pauses in breathing:
In sleep apnea, the fatty tissues of the throat or tongue become relaxed throughout sleep and fall across your airways that restricts the flow of oxygen and prevents respiration for several seconds.
Fatigue during the day: There is a general assumption that you are in bed for 7-9 hrs and so you had a good quality of sleep, this is a myth! All of those pauses and interruptions to your sleep add up to a lot of lost time in the quality and quantity of nightly sleep. One of the most common and frequently overlooked symptoms of sleep apnea is excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). EDS is a condition where a person experiences an overwhelming daytime fatigue.
Headache: If you wake up with or have frequent headaches during the daytime it might signal that you had an improper quality of sleep. When you stop breathing frequently during the night, less or no oxygen is making its way to your brain. Reduced oxygen levels cause the widening of blood vessels that initiate vascular headaches.
Obesity: In most cases, a person’s body weight is directly linked to having OSA. Obese people are more likely to have sleep apnea than those that maintain healthy weights. This might be due to too much of fatty build up around the circumference of the throat. Theses excess tissues can fall back into the airways during sleep causing obstructions in the airways leading to apnea events.
Mood swings, depression or irritability: Lack of quality sleep can affect a person’s mood. Lack of quality sleep nearly every night can make you more irritable, prone to anxiety, short-tempered, and eventually trigger depression.
Consequences of untreated sleep apnea
Low levels of oxygen in your body can have negative long-term consequences for your health. This includes:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Pre-diabetes and diabetes
There are many undiagnosed and untreated cases of sleep apnea.Neurologists, pulmonologists and otolaryngologist can diagnose obstructive sleep apnea using an in-lab sleep study or a home sleep apnea test. Sleep apnea can be controlled using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, the front-line treatment for sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy or surgery.
At Nightingales, we perform levels of sleep study with the help of state-of-the-art sleep diagnostic devices to diagnose conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorders, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, sleepwalking and other sleep behavior disorders.Diagnosing sleep disorders can improve one’s quality of life and prevent complications or progression of certain diseases. So, book a sleep study today!