CPAP is the most effective nonsurgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea

Says, Dr. Randeep Guleria, Head of Department, Pulmonology & Sleep Disorder at AIIMS. Dr Guleria, honored by the Government of India in 2015 with Padma Shri, did his medical studies at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh.He joined the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and rose in ranks to become a professor and the head of the department of Pulmonology and Sleep Disorders. He is associated with the World Health Organization (WHO) as a member of its Scientific Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE)on immunization and influenza vaccination. Dr Guleria in an interaction with Ekta Srivastava, Health Technology…

Maybe a third of the population experiences a sleep problem some time. It’s really quite common, isn’t it?

Yes it is, sleep disorder is very common and in past few years we have seen many patients being diagnosed with different types of sleep disorders. This is mainly due to increasing awareness, increasing shift duties and the unhealthy lifestyle we are living which is causing many problems including obesity.While insomnia may be the most common sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea is the disorder most sleep clinics diagnose and treat.

So, if you don’t have a good night’s sleep a time or two, maybe that’s not such a big deal, but there are people who are sleep deprived and my understanding is that can lead to real risks. Am I right?

Hypersomniawhich is one of the sleep disorders, causes a person to be excessively sleepy. People with a hypersomnia may fall asleep at any time and this may be inconvenient or even dangerous, such as at work or while driving. They may also have other sleep-related difficulties, a lack of energy and trouble thinking clearly etc. Sleep deprivation can lead to higher risk of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Now, one of the most common sleep problems I understand is sleep apnea, where you’re having breathing problems, during sleep. Hasn’t it been shown that can cause some long term, serious health problems?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen.Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including: high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, heart attacks, diabetes, depression and headaches.

Some people find that they’re waking up a lot, or their partner says they’re snoring. Tell us more about those sorts of things. And also, I’m not really clear, restless leg, I know is not an uncommon sleep problem. Does that mean your legs are moving around at night? Help us understand and differentiate some of these problems.

Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed. Snoring is usually not very serious, it increases with age and is mostly a nuisance for your bed partner. However, if you are a habitualloud snorer, you not only disrupt the sleep patterns of those close to you, but you may also impair your own sleep quality.Habitual snorers can be at risk for serious health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea.

However, restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs. This sensation is brought on by resting such as lying down in bed, sitting for prolonged periods such as while driving or at a theatre. RLS typically occurs in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can be associated with problems with daytime sleepiness, irritability and concentration. Often, people with RLS want to walk around and shake their legs to help relieve the uncomfortable sensation.

There are hardly certainly any sleep aids in India that are advertised. How do you feel about all this, somebody just picking any med from the chemist on their own?

As a doctor I would recommend to consult your family doctor or specialist before treating yourself. There are medicines available however they should be use as per prescription only.

What about these sleep medicines? I’ve read that maybe it’s not such a good idea to take these for a longer period.

As mentioned earlier, these medicines should be used as per doctor’s prescription only. There are many OTC products available. But using prescription sleep medications recommended by doctors’ are much better. Moreover some sleep medicines can be addictive.

Now, I know some people, who are diagnosed with sleep apnea specialists, would recommend a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine — what is that?

Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP camera.gif) uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe more easily during sleep. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway doesn’t collapse when you breathe in during sleep and therebymaintains good flow and oxygen to the lungs at night. When you use CPAP, your bed partner may sleep better too. CPAP is the most effective nonsurgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It is the first treatment choice for adults and the most widely used.When you are using CPAP, you need to see your doctor or sleep specialist regularly.

Do you think devices like this and other wearable devices have become more comfortable now a day’s then it used to be.

The masks attached with CPAP machine has now become more comfortable as the older style was stiffer and challenging to use. Wearable devices are now light and are easy to use and come in different forms like face mask, nasal mask, nasal pillows, helmet etc.

Do you feel now you have the tools, the behavioral tools, the medications, the devices like you just mentioned so that most people can be helped?

Modern medicines have made life easy for patients and doctors. All one need is to be aware of the condition, reach out to doctor and get right therapy.

How do you think a bedroom should be to promote sleep? Should it have all the TV and the gizmos around, or do you have a different view?

Sleep is a vital part of your overall health and wellbeing. Get enough and you’ll boost everything from your energy levels to your brainpower. Get too little and you put yourself at higher risk of a range of diseases and conditions, from diabetes to depression.Ideally the room should not have any gadgets around. Environmental conditions such as temperature, noise, light, bed comfort and electronic distractions, play a significant role in one’s ability to get proper sleep—and, subsequently, in overall sleep-related wellness.Make your bed an inviting place to be. Buy comfortable bedding, including pillows, sheets, and comforters or other coverings. Turn out the lights, tell your body it’s time to sleep by darkening your room.Keep all electronics—from televisions to computers to cell phones—out of your bedroom. And most importantly, use your bed only for sleep and not as an office or family recreation space.


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