Feeling exhausted and cranky after a sleepless night? You have more than just that to worry about if you suffer from a sleep disorder.

Right from heart disease and hypertension to memory-loss and depression, studies show that lack of good sleep at night could be detrimental to one’s health and lifestyle in more ways than one.

“Sleep apnea is the theme for this year’s World Sleep Day, as it is the most common, yet poorly diagnosed sleep disorder.

While around 40 per cent of the general population has the problem of snoring, which is the main symptom of sleep apnea, recent research suggests that one in 15 people suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

The individual’s airway closes when he goes into a deep sleep, depriving his brain of oxygen and giving him a restless, fragmented sleep pattern,” explains head and neck surgeon Dr Ravi Ramalingam, who runs a sleep lab in the city.

“Our sleep lab is booked every night until April,” he says, pointing out that patients approach a doctor for help only as a last resort, after most of the damage is already done. “Sleep apnea affects different areas of the brain differently.

As a result, the person may have behavioural problems with moodiness and depression. The parts of the brain that govern planning, task execution and decision-making are affected, and the patient can also become forgetful and lethargic,” he adds.

While chronic snorers usually prefer to have surgery to correct their blocked noses and airways, the C-Pap mask equipment is also available to help open the air passages while sleeping.

However, acceptance of the C-Pap is low in India as it makes the wearer ‘look like a patient’ and has to be worn every night.

Google Alerts – sleep apnea

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