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Hike in number of patients seeking sleep apnea treatment: PGI

From two or three patients a month, the number has increased to 10 in the last 10 years, say doctors

Updated: Mar 13, 2020 01:06 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Chandigarh

The department of otolaryngology (ENT) of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER),Chandigarh, has seen a significant rise in the number of patients seeking treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in a month over the past decade.

“Spike from two or three patients per month to an average of 10 patients per month, including children, in the last decade describes the prevalence of disease which may be going unnoticed. In our part of the world, awareness is required for such patients to avail treatment,” Dr Sandeep Bansal, an additional professor from the department of otolaryngology (ENT), said.

A person with obstructive sleep apnea snores, often with pauses, snorts or wakes up gasping for breath which can be fatal.

Doctors at the PGIMER said, “At the sleep lab for diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, on an average, 25 sleep studies on adult patients are conducted and out of them, 90% are found suffering from this medical condition.”

Similarly, the department witnesses around 10 new patients every month.

In obstructive sleep apnea , a person frequently stops breathing during his or her sleep.

“Obstructive sleep apnea usually happens because of repetitive narrowing of the airway during sleep despite breathing efforts. The person will unknowingly stop breathing repeatedly throughout sleep. Once the airway is opened or the breathing signal is received, the person may snore, take a deep breath, or awaken completely with a sensation of gasping, smothering, or choking,” Bansal said.

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to potentially serious health complications, such as heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes and depression, doctors said.

It can also leave a person feeling drowsy, increasing the
risk of accidents while driving or working and loss of concentration at work, subsequently leading to poor productivity, doctors said.

Children can breathe heavily and have restless sleep in unusual positions, he said.

Bansal also said a child might have a hard time waking up in the morning, be tired or fall asleep during the day, have trouble paying attention, be hyperactive, or have recurrent episodes of cough and cold.


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