Beware, obstructive sleep apnoea

| Updated on: Mar 18, 2016

Always tired? Check your sleep. Do you wake up feeling unrested and irritable? Or does your family complain of your snoring?

These are common signs of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a sleep disorder that, left untreated, can take its toll on the body and mind, says the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

Untreated OSA has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, car accidents, and depression. With sleep apnoea, your breathing pauses multiple times during sleep. The pauses last from a few seconds to minutes and can occur more than five times per hour to as high as 100 times. (Fewer than five times per hour is normal.) Sometimes, when you start breathing again, you make a loud snort or choking sound.

The most common Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses. The less common form, central sleep apnoea, happens if the area of your brain that controls breathing does not send the correct signals to your breathing muscles.

Sleep apnoea is almost twice as common in men as it is in women. Risk factors include, being overweight, as extra fat tissue around the neck makes it harder to keep the airway open, smoking, having a family history of sleep apnoea, and having a nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies or sinus problem.

Children also get sleep apnoea, commonly between ages three and six, largely because of enlarged tonsils and adenoids in the upper airway. The diagnosis of sleep disorders requires a formal sleep study. Polysomnogram, the most common sleep study, takes place in a sleep centre or lab to record brain activity, eye movement, blood pressure and the amount of air that moves in and out of your lungs.

Source: USFDA

Published on January 20, 2018

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