We often tend to laugh or mock at people, can be our kith and kin or friends, who snore while sleeping. Although the sound they create is very disturbing, we forget to remember that the person who makes this gasping sound is suffering from a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder.
Snoring is a noisy breathing during sleep. A large number of people are victims of this health dysfunction. But the fact is that many people ignore it or even do not know that this obstreperous sound is a real disease!
The prevalence of this disorder that is clinically called obstructive sleep apnea has been increasing over the last few decades.
I should say, the sleep apnea is 2-5 times more common in men than it is in women; but when women become post-menopausal, their risk for obstructive sleep apnea actually increases.
I should render it to hormonal changes, but could also be a result of functional changes in the upper airway.
However, obstructive sleep apnea disorder occurs when throat muscles fail to keep the airway open, leading to pauses in breathing that can last at least 10 seconds.
So, we could see, a woman for instance, talking about having a history of excessive daytime sleep, loud snoring and episodes of breathing cessation. The scary thing which we need to be all aware of the sudden awakening, it can be your mum or dad, accompanied by gasping or choking.
My point of discussion is the dropping of oxygen level at this time. Unfortunately, many people do not pay attention to it. This type of disease, most time leads, to high blood pressure, heart disease and ending in respiratory failures.
Many studies suggest that sleep apnea may impair the brain’s capacity to either encode or consolidate certain types of life memories, which makes it hard for people to recall details from the past.
But, what concern me asking you and other if such disorder can kill the patient?!
Looking to that point, studies have confirmed that patients known with sleep apnea have one the following consequence like, heart attack or stroke (2-3 more times likely) or involved in fatal vehicle accidents.
These revelations are not intended to create a scare. But we the medical practitioners are often flooded with questions in this regard as to what kind of treatments can be given to people with snoring.
So the intention is to create a positive attitude to this health disorder and do the required treatments.
In fact, while the risks of untreated sleep apnea are serious, still there are a variety of known as well new updated treatments, which are clinically proven to reduce this risk of heart and brain complications.
So we need to increase the awareness about sleep apnea and the authorities concerned, including the World Health Organization, to consider observing a sleep apnea awareness day.
Dr Yousuf Ali Almulla, MD, Ministry of Health. He is a medical innovator and educator. For any queries regarding the content of the column, he can be contacted at: