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Sleep Apnoea: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


We all need a good night’s sleep to give our bodies and minds the much-needed rest after a hard-working day. Having sound sleep can restore the body and mind to their full optimum capacity. But being deprived of sleep can adversely affect our mental and physical health.

What is Sleep, Apnoea?

Sleep Apnoea, in simple terms, is a condition where, after a night’s sleep, a person still feels tired and sleepy, and this happens when there is breathing trouble. It causes intermittent stoppage of breathing many times during sleep which results in inadequate rest sleep. If not treated in time, sleep apnoea can lead to heart failure, hypertension, stroke or depression.

Types of Sleep Apnoea

There are mainly two types of sleep Apnoea, namely obstructive sleep Apnoea and central sleep Apnoea.

1.    Obstructive sleep Apnoea and its causes: It is basically caused due to the relaxation of muscles in the throat resulting in the air passage getting blocked. Conditions that can lead up to obstructive sleep Apnoea include obesity and ENT problems. Sometimes it is caused by enlarged tonsils or nasal congestion. Using sedatives or alcohol can also cause it. 

2.    Central sleep Apnoea and causes: Central sleep Apnoea is caused when the brain is not able to send the required signals to the muscles which are responsible for breathing. Such conditions are commonly observed in people who suffer from some kind of medical condition. Patients having a history of stroke or congestive heart problems are frequent victims of central sleep Apnoea. Age is another factor in suffering from central sleep Apnoea. Certain medications can also lead to it side effects. Mostly males are afflicted more by this type. 

Symptoms of sleep Apnoea

Seven Common symptoms shown by people affected by sleep Apnoea are:

1.    Inability to sleep correctly, i.e. insomnia.

2.    Snoring loudly during sleep.

3.    Waking the next day unrefreshed and sometimes with a headache.

4.    Feeling sleepy all the time.

5. Fewer energy levels and tiredness during the day.

6.    Feeling the mouth to be dry.

7.    Persons sleeping next usually report the patient struggling to breathe many times at night.

Diagnosis of sleep Apnoea:

Doctors usually rely on the detailed history provided by the people sleeping next to the afflicted people about sleep patterns and symptoms that the patient suffers from. For further investigation, they may recommend a sleep specialist who will analyze breathing patterns and detect changes in functions of the body overnight. A nocturnal polysomnography test at the sleep study may be conducted to study oxygen levels in the blood and any changes in the activity of the brain, heart, and lungs during sleep. Sometimes only home sleep tests are undertaken.

Treatment of Sleep Apnoea

  • You must visit the best pulmonologist in Mumbai for treating sleep Apnoea.  Based on the diagnosis, if the case is only mild, the doctor usually asks the afflicted person to make changes in lifestyle like quitting smoking or losing excess weight. He may also recommend an ear and nose specialist if the cause is a local nose disease.
  • If the case is a little more severe, then doctors recommend a CPAP machine. The patient has to wear a mask that supplies air pressure from the device. This helps in opening up the airway and prevents it from collapsing. In addition to CPAP, there are other appliances available that open up the throat for easy breathing. You must consider visiting best pulmonology hospital in Mumbai for the same.
  • If all the above options do not work, then surgery may be recommended for the removal of the tissue in the throat along with tonsil or adenoids. Sometimes the tissue is only shrunk by using another procedure. In some methods, the position of the jaw is changed to facilitate easy breathing. Other methods include planting implants or stimulation of nerves.

Nanavati Max Hospital is one of the best hospitals in Mumbai for treating Sleep Apnoea. Nanavati Max hospital has a team comprising of the best pulmonologist and other related specialists in Mumbai who can rightly advise you about sleep Apnoea and its management.

Author Bio

Dr. Salil Bendre (Consultant - Pulmonology & Bronchoscopy)

Dr. Salil Bendre heads the Centre for Chest and Respiratory Disease at Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital. He has vast experience of over 27 years and specializes in diagnostic and therapeutic services for Lung Infections, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Sleep Apnoea, Nicotine/Tobacco (Smoking) De-addiction Treatment, Chest Disease and Eosinophilia Treatment among others.