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Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome in Detail


What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS)?

OSAS is a condition in which a person experiences repetitive upper airway obstruction leading to sleep fragmentation, oxygen desaturation, and stimulation of the cardiovascular system.

Sleep is very important for our daily body functioning. Lack of sleep for a longer duration would lead to various problems:

  • Hypertension
  • Day Time sleepiness
  • Impaired functioning
  • Quality of Life is worst

How do we know we have OSAS?

  • Snoring
  • Fatigue
  • Breath holding spells
  • Gasping/ Choking
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Fragmented sleep
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Reduced alertness
  • Mood changes
  • Frequent night urination

Why does Snoring happen?

Snoring is a low-frequency sound produced by the vibration of the upper airway during partial airway obstruction. Upper airway obstruction is most of the time caused by vibration of:

  • Soft palate
  • Tonsil
  • Epiglottis
  • Base of Tongue

How do we investigate OSAS?

  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Naso-endoscopy (sleep & awake both)
  • Poly-Somnography (Gold standard)
    • Respiratory Rate
    • Oximetry
    • EEG (Brain Activity)
    • EOG (Eye Movement Tracking)
    • EMG (Muscle activity)

What are the risk factors?

  • Obesity BMI >28
  • Gender: Male> Female
  • Increase Age
  • Anatomical Variations: mandible/ tongue/ palate
  • Adenoid/ Tonsil enlargement

If left untreated OSAS could lead to:

  • high blood pressure
  • a higher chance of having a stroke
  • depression or changes in your mood
  • a higher chance of having a serious accident caused by tiredness, such as a car accident

Criteria of OSAS treatment

A number of episodes of apnoea/ hypo-apnoea in sleep Known as Apnoea-Hypoapnoea Index (AHI), so the severity of OSAS is defined by AHI.

Medical Treatment:

  • Mild OSAS with excessive daytime sleepiness or co-morbidities
  • Moderate to Severe OSAS with/ without excessive daytime sleepiness or Co-morbidities

In this post we’ve covered the causes of OSAS in our next post we’ll discuss the treatment in detail.

Read about Snoring in Children

Sleep Healthy & Be Healthy

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