Obstructive sleep apnea, also called OSA, is characterized by pauses in breathing due to the collapse of the soft tissue in the throat and mouth. There are 9% to 21% of women and 24% to 31% of men suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (ASA, 2021). Many of these people are overweight, do not breathe for a few seconds or more during their sleep experience, and are at risk for heart disease, stroke, and insulin resistance. Symptoms vary widely, and severity depends on how often the person experiences episodes.
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in men than in women and is often accompanied by nasal congestion and other medical problems. Women with weight problems are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. Older adults are also at a higher risk of developing the condition.
Various types of OSA are caused by a blocked airway during sleep. Obstructive apnea is more common in overweight people and is associated with alcohol consumption before bedtime. Other factors contributing to OSA include obesity, alcohol use before bed, and sleeping on their back.
While genetics are not a direct cause of sleep apnea, it is a risk factor. Genetics plays a role in the regulation of breathing and nerve cell communication. Inflammatory response control genes are believed to be associated with sleep apnea. The disease is most often diagnosed by a medical professional, and treatment options may include lifestyle changes or the use of breathing devices.
People with sleep apnea should avoid alcohol, sedatives, and tranquilizers, as they relax the muscles in the throat and aggravate obstructive sleep apnea. Smoking also increases inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. You can discuss with your doctor in regards to lifestyle changes that will improve the quality of your sleep. Quitting smoking and alcohol before bed may also reduce your risk of developing the condition. Lastly, a healthy diet can help prevent the occurrence of sleep apnea, as well as improve your overall health. Depending on the severity of the condition, a sleep specialist may recommend one of the many options available. The doctor will recommend a treatment based on your symptoms and overall health.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is usually the first option, but if you have difficulty with it, you can try alternative treatments. Surgery is a last resort for those who cannot tolerate non-invasive treatments.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, a sleep specialist can help you reduce your risk by examining you for a screening test. During a sleep test, doctors can detect your condition through your breathing patterns and conduct a polysomnogram test.
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The Air Station Malaysia
Address: Level 9 Menara Summit, Persiaran Kewajipan USJ 1,
47600 UEP Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.