Obstructive sleep apnea affects 20-30% of male and 10-15% of female adults in this country. Described as irregular and abnormal respiratory
patterns during sleep with periods of silence followed by loud snorts or snoring, it may also manifest as nocturnal chest pain, awakening the affected individual from sleep with the sensation of choking, gasping or smothering. The end result is disturbed sleep affecting its quality and thus the individual’s health. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and poor concentration. These symptoms tend to be misdiagnosed as other illness such as ADD and mistreatment ensues. The major comorbidities one needs to avoid are cardiovascular outcomes associated with untreated sleep apnea, such as resistant Systemic Hypertension. The Apnea-Hypopnea index depicts that greater than 5 events an hour indicate sleep apnea and greater than 30 events an hour indicates increased risk for
An affected individual may have hypertension, a narrow airway and a large neck circumference on a physical exam. A diagnosis needs confirmation, preferably, via In-laboratory polysomnography; the alternative is home sleep apnea testing. Treatment includes behavioral modifications to lose weight, positive airway pressure via CPAP mask or nasal prong, oral appliances and lastly, surgery by your friendly ENT.
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