Sleeping Disorders should be taken seriously

Many people suffer from the problem of snoring and eventually getting up with an irritable mood in the morning. These are the common symptoms of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a type of sleeping disorder and must not be left unattended. If a person ignores these problems, it might result in high blood pressure and stroke, along with heart attacks and road accidents.

Sleep problems can also lead to depression and poor performance at work. Over 12 million people in the United States suffer from OSA, according to the American Sleep Association.

When sleep apnea occurs, a person’s breathing pauses several times in sleep and pauses can be a few seconds to minutes long. The hourly frequency of occurrence can be over five times to 100 times. When breathing starts again, a loud snort or a choking sound is made.

OSA particularly happens due to airway blockage, generally due to the collapse of soft tissue present at the back of the throat. Central sleep apnea is a less common type of sleep apnea and occurs due to incorrect signals transmitted to breathing muscles by the section of brain that is responsible for controlling breathing.

Men are twice as prone to sleep apnea as compared to women. The risk of sleep apnea is enhanced due to being overweight, being above 40 years of age and smoking, along with family history of having this disorder and deviated septum, allergies or sinus issue resulting in nasal blockage.

Children suffer from this disorder primarily during the age of 3-6 years, mainly due to tonsils and adenoids in the upper airway getting enlarged.

“You should certainly tell your physician if you think you, or your child, is experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea. But the diagnosis of sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea requires a formal sleep study”, said Eric Mann, M.D., Ph.D., Deputy Director of FDA's Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices.