Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition where the patient breathing constantly stops for a long duration while he/she is asleep. Patient frequently wake up heaving or choking when suffering from sleep apnea. Due to this repeated choking occurrences in the night, the patient is unable to sleep for the required duration and hence sleep quality is deteriorated. Sleep apnea is a common sleep complaint that affects millions of people worldwide. Sleep apnea can lead to serious health issues if left undressed. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available to help patients suffering from this condition and improve quality of life.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Before delving into the treatment options available, it’s essential to understand what sleep apnea is? Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep.
The two most common types are:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This occurs when the muscles in the throat relax excessively, causing a blockage in the airway.
Central Sleep Apnea: This is less common form, the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Regardless of the type, untreated sleep apnea can lead to various health problems, including cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, daytime fatigue, and decreased libido etc.
Here are some of the treatment options available for sleep apnea:
- Lifestyle Modifications:
Weight Control: Sleep apnea is closely associated with obesity and represents a significant risk factor. Many clinics offer guidance on healthy eating and exercise to help patients lose weight and improve their sleep.
Avoiding Alcohol and Smoking: These substances can trigger sleep apnea symptoms. Patients are advised to limit or eliminate their consumption.
Sleep Position: Some individuals experience fewer symptoms when sleeping on their side instead of their back.
- Polysomnogram (PSG)
Polysomnogram (PSG), commonly called “sleep study” is the gold standard to diagnose OSA. It can be done in a hospital setting or even at your own house. Given these findings, CT scans or radiographs will be conducted, and a naso-endoscopy may also be performed to pinpoint the precise location of the airway obstruction.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy:
CPAP is one of the most common and effective treatments for OSA. It involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth while sleeping, supplying a continuous flow of air to maintain an open airway. Many clinics and hospitals are equipped to install CPAP machines and offer the essential assistance.
In severe cases or when other treatments are ineffective, surgical options may be considered. These can include procedures to remove excess tissue, reposition the jaw, or implant devices to support the airway. Pune has well-equipped hospitals and experienced surgeons who can perform these surgeries safely.
Begin sleep apnea treatment by seeking consultation with a sleep specialist or pulmonologist, who can diagnose the condition through a sleep study and suggest the appropriate treatment.
Dr. Sneha Tirpude provides comprehensive care and treatment for individuals experiencing sleep apnea, a persistent issue characterized by upper airway blockages during sleep, which can disrupt regular breathing and lead to oxygen deficiency in the brain and other bodily regions.
During your consultation, the doctor will review your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and inquire about your sleep-related concerns and any associated conditions. Together with you, the doctor will devise a treatment plan, which might also include the recommendation for an overnight sleep study.