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Sleep apnea affects an estimated 60% of people and is undiagnosed in most of them
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 17 - 06 - 2014


Hala Aboulkhair, MD
Associate consultant, sleep medicine and internal medicine
International Medical Center
My husband is 63 years old, snores nearly every night and napes nearly every day. He's diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and also diabetes and hypertension. Is there any way to solve this sleeping problem?
About 24% of men and 9% of women have the breathing symptoms of OSA with or without daytime sleepiness. OSA with resulting daytime sleepiness occurs in at least 4% of men and 2% of women. OSA is not conclusive for adult it can occur in children in preschool age.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe.
This can lead to abrupt reductions in blood oxygen saturation, with oxygen levels falling as much as 40 percent or more in severe cases. The brain responds to the lack of oxygen by alerting the body, causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. This pattern can occur hundreds of times in one night.
Most people with OSA snore loudly and frequently, with periods of silence when airflow is reduced or blocked. They then make choking, snorting or gasping sounds when their airway reopens. And if you have one of these risk factor Obesity, overweight, large neck size, abnormality of soft tissue and bone of the head and neck, down syndrome, large tonsils and adenoid, acromegaly, hypothyroidism, smokers, nocturnal nasal congestion or rhinitis.
We confirm the diagnosis by polysomnography, which is a sleep study that charts vital signs such as brain waves, heartbeat, oxygen levels and breathing.
Fluctuating oxygen levels, Increased heart rate, Chronic elevation in daytime blood pressure, Increased risk of stroke, Higher rate of death due to heart disease, Impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, Impaired concentration , Mood changes, Increased risk of being involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident, Disturbed sleep of the bed partner.
The standard treatment is the Continuous positive air way pressure, which provides a steady stream of pressurized air to patients through a mask that they wear during sleep. This airflow keeps the airway open, preventing pauses in breathing and restoring normal oxygen levels. Patients can choose from numerous mask sizes and styles to achieve a good fit. Heated humidifiers that connect to CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) units contribute to patient comfort. Other treatment modalities are mouth appliances, surgery, and weight loss.


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