Sleep Apnea is a serious sleeping disorder, happens when the person’s breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. Apnea means breathing pause for at least ten seconds. Reason for this disorder is when the throat is unable to keep the airway open. The main types of Sleep Apnea are Obstructive, central and complex sleep apnea

  • Central apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t send the proper signal to the muscles that control breathing
  • Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles that support the soft palate relax. This makes the airways narrow when you breathe in. This might choke or gasp and this can happen repeatedly many times in an hour during sleep.
  • Complex sleep apnea occurs when both the central and obstructive apnea happens in the case.

Factors involved

There are a numbers of factors that increase the risk of this disorder i.e. being overweight, large neck size, smoking and use of alcohol. Sometimes it can be genetic also. Muscular change, physical obstruction are the other factors involve in this disorder.


The strongest symptom is loud Snoring. Sleep apnea patients can suffer from sleeplessness too. Other symptoms like depression, lack in concentration, irritability and memory difficulty etc. There may be the case when you stop breathing during sleep and awakening with a dry mouth or with morning headache If this disorder is not treated then it may occur high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke and heart attack. If someone sees any of the symptoms, treatment can mitigate or ease the problem and related complications


Change in lifestyle is important to mitigate the symptoms of Sleep Apnea like Losing weight, Avoid Alcohol or quit smoking. But other tests can be done to diagnose the problem. Doctors can evaluate based on the symptoms and sleep history. The diagnosis involves overnight monitoring and Home Sleep testing is also another option. Other tests to detect Sleep Apnea are-,

  • Nocturnal Polysomnography- In this test, doctors monitor the heart, lungs and brain activity. Breathing pattern and blood oxygen level is also checked while the patient sleeps.
  • Home Sleep Test- This test usually done at home to measure the breathing pattern, Airflow, heart rate and blood oxygen level.

If the reports are abnormal, doctors may prescribe therapies. For the cases of Obstructive sleep apnea, the doctor might refer to ENT doctor to evaluate blockage in the nose or throat. Cardiologist or neurologist may look into the case when Central Sleep Apnea.


Lifestyle changes are most necessary to normalise the breathing pattern and the very first crucial step in the treatment.

  • Continuous Positive airway pressure Therapy(CPAP) – this therapy is used to keep open the airway open gently providing a constant stream of air that flows through the mask.
  • Surgery- Surgery may also be required for the cases of Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA) to widen the narrow space of airway. This can be used to stiff or shrink the obstructive tissues.
  • Mandibular repositioning device(MRD)- This is a custom made an oral appliance for the patient to hold the jaws in forward position to expand the space behind the tongue. It prevents snoring and keeps the upper airway open.

Around 1 in 5 adults have mild symptoms of OSA. Leaving this untreated may cause other complication like heart attack and depression. While sleep apnea is more likely to occur in the age of 50 and above buy it may affect people of all ages.