What is sleep apnea and how can it be treated?

Dr Hatem Ramadan, consultant pulmonologist and acting head of Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine at Healthpoint hospital, explains sleep apnea. What is sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a potentially serious respiratory condition in which breathing stops and restarts during sleep. Symptoms include snoring, breathing cessation followed by air gasping, fragmented sleep, unrefreshing sleep, poor quality of […]

Dr Hatem Ramadan, consultant pulmonologist and acting head of Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine at Healthpoint hospital, explains sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious respiratory condition in which breathing stops and restarts during sleep. Symptoms include snoring, breathing cessation followed by air gasping, fragmented sleep, unrefreshing sleep, poor quality of sleep, daytime sleepiness, early morning headache, loss of concentration and frequent urination.

How is it treated?

Anyone diagnosed with the condition should be treated. The standard treatment is the auto titration CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. The disease has serious consequences if left untreated, including pulmonary hypertension (increase in pressure in the blood vessels supplying the lungs), high risk of stroke and heart attacks, disturbance of the heart electricity, impaired kidney function, worsening of pre-existing diabetes and hypertension.

A case in point

AM, a 56-year-old male, had symptoms suggestive of obstructive sleep apnea for many years. He underwent an overnight sleep study which confirmed the diagnosis. He was initiated on auto CPAP therapy, which led to much better control of his diabetes, and he enjoyed the other benefits of good sleep as well.

Source: art & life

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