Snoring can be a noisey killer if untreated
March 13 is observed as World Sleep Day. Ahead of this this occasion, Dr Lav Kush Chaudhary, senior consultant, Respiratory Medicine and Sleep Specialist at Synergy Institute of Medical Sciences explains, how this noisy killer can be deadly.
Snoring is a sign of further complication in human system, if snoring gets louder including the symptoms such as gasps for air or interrupted breathing, it should be immediately checked. There are basically two types of snores, one is just a rhythmic type of snore, and usually the volume level stays about the same. The other type of snoring, which about 75 per cent of people who snore will have, is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a potentially serious sleep disorder. It causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep.
There are several types of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. Nearly one billion people globally are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring in simplest terms is vibration of tissue, the most obvious tissue that would vibrate when somebody is snoring is the uvula, or the back of the palette that hangs down. During sleep, throat muscles relaxes, sometimes the tongue falls back in the mouth and partially blocks. The greater the obstruction in the airway, the louder snoring gets. Bigger health concerns involve severe snoring and when the airway collapses completely, causing obstruction of airflow, followed by people waking up just enough to start breathing again. However, people with sleep apnea typically don’t wake to consciousness and are often unaware of it.
Obesity also contributes because the body has to work harder at breathing in sleep. Another factor might be that the nose is obstructed, tonsils could play some role, although, it’s less frequent, but children can have snoring and sleep apnea.
Excessive daytime sleepiness, observed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep, abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking, awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat, morning headache, difficulty concentrating during the day, experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability, high blood pressure, night-time sweating, decreased libido etc are symptoms of OSA.
With OSA there’s increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Further, frequent bathroom breaks at night due to decrease in the oxygen level actually effect kidneys, followed by poor memory, difficulty in concentrating and co-morbidities such high blood sugar levels and blood pressure. OSA patients may experience worse breathing problems after major surgery, especially after being sedated.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy (CPAP), is a gold standard treatment for sleep apnea. Doctors now can set a range of pressure, and the device detects when a patient needs a higher level. However, with new research and development machines have become smart enough to know when the patient needs a higher pressure, if patient is on their back or in REM sleep. Moreover, there has been drastic innovation in masks, earlier the masks were bulky and claustrophobic however, with time masks have become smaller and fit more comfortably which hardly effects patient normal activities, including reading and watching television. Along with CPAP therapy it is also advisable to avoid smoking, alcohol and muscle relaxant before bedtime and keep weight controlled. The other treatment options are surgery and oral appliances.
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