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Why obstructive sleep apnea patients are underdiagnosed
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Why obstructive sleep apnea patients are underdiagnosed


An adequate amount of sleep is important for one’s physical being, mental health, emotional being, and productivity. Generally, it is seen that lack of sleep or sleep disturbances are considered to be associated with minor daily life stress, but they might be the clear indicators of Sleep Apnea, and ignoring them may add more to the risk. 

OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) is a common disease that is generally underreported/undiagnosed because of a lack of awareness, and the reason is quite apparent. It is a kind of disorder in which breathing stops for a few seconds many times during sleep due to collapse blockage of the airway in the neck. So what are the symptoms and how it can be managed? let’s get some insights:

Risk factors to develop OSA: There are some physical and genetic conditions that potentially develop OSA. One should be more aware in this regard about:

  • Excessive weight/obesity 
  • Larger neck circumference
  • Short neck people
  • Tonsils especially in children
  • Family history/genetic
  • Use of sedatives
  • Hypothyroidism

Common symptoms: Some of the symptoms leading to OSA might be confused with other sleeping or stress issues, it’s better to look at them minutely and consult the doctor. Potential indicators are:

  • Snoring 
  • Tiredness/headaches
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Disturbed sleep at night, gasping for air during sleep 
  • Excessive daytime sleeping 
  • Depression, irritability, mood disorders
  • Complications/consequences of OSA
  • People with uncontrolled sugar levels are prone to develop type2 diabetes. 
  • High BP
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Depression/ anxiety
  • Erectile dysfunction

Diagnosis:

  • Stop Bang questionnaires for screening. If the questionnaire answers suggest OSA 
  • Sleep study test
  • Diagnostic polysomnography 

Treatment: OSA is curable if symptoms are noticed and managed early with the right consultation. Hence people living with this disorder should be more aware of their complications and get them treated at right time.

Dr. Bandana Mishra

Head of the Department and Senior Consultant

Pulmonology