OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA – A KILLER IN YOUR SLEEP.
Sleep, according to Wikipedia, is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is known to all as an activity which restores and conserves energy. It’s what we all need after a long hard day at work. Those mentioned above are some of the benefits we get during sleep.
If sleep was designed to replenish our body’s energy then why do some people still feel tired even after waking up? There is so much more to sleep that we have taken for granted. Some of you may not have been getting a good quality of sleep which contributes to some [co-morbid] diseases such as Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, to name a few.
Have you been feeling tired even after 8 hours of continuous sleep? If so, then you might want to continue reading. Feeling tired after waking up is one of the indications that you have (or at risk for) OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA (OSA). Here are some of the questions to determine your risk below:
1) Do you snore?
2) Is your snoring interrupted by pauses or choking?
3) Has anyone ever said that you stop breathing or gasp during your sleep?
4) Have you ever fallen asleep or nodded off while driving?
I also found this assessment tool off somewhere in the internet about OSA. It’s called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. This scale measures the degree of daytime sleepiness you may or may not manifest because of a poor quality of sleep.
OSA seems to be a very simple condition and could easily be taken for granted. More than 50% of the world’s population, IMO, have the disease without them knowing it. It’s sad because some may be receiving unsuccessful treatments say, for Hypertension thinking that it’s the primary disease but it’s not.
So, what exactly is OSA?
Obstructions, such as a collapsed airway, that occur during sleep. Such obstructions narrow the passage of air in and out of the patient’s lungs and thus decreases circulating O2 inside a person’s body during sleep. This causes cessation of breathing (apnea) for a couple of seconds for multiple times during the entire sleeping cycle.
One sequela I can site as an example is cardiomegaly (enlarged heart). Our heart compensates for the decreased O2 level in a person’s body by pumping more blood to the system. This puts stress on the person’s heart causing it to over work and hypertrophy. So, it’s really not easy to just discount OSA because it leads to very serious health conditions.
Do you think you have OSA?
If you think you have OSA, go to your sleep doctor now. He would normally ask you to undergo a SLEEP STUDY (it’s the gold standard for diagnosing OSA,btw). Or you could undergo a screening test instead. It’s not the gold standard but it’s cost-effective. What this screening test does is it records the number of apnea events that occur as you sleep. It has a 96% sensitivity rate which would mean getting a high average of apnea over an 8 hour period (depending on your average sleep cycle) would mean it’s more likely that you’d be positive for OSA during sleep study. It’s economical but sleep doctors normally don’t recommend it (again, because it’s not the gold standard). But IMO, it’s smart to have yourself screened first. Undergoing sleep study is much more expensive and there’s a 50/50 chance that you’d be diagnosed with OSA.
Is there a cure for OSA?
I wouldn’t say there’s a “cure” but it can be treated. I believe it requires a lifetime of treatment with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy. It’s a device you wear over your nose/mouth when you sleep. It helps keep your airway open to allow for maximum ventilation during sleep.
So, to sum it all up. I believe that OSA is one thing that we should get ourselves tested for. Read more about it and ask your doctor about it. I made this blog post because I believe that this is one “silent” killer that needs to be addressed to.