Sleep Apnea – Symptoms, Causes and Procedure
Apnea is a derivation from the Greek word apnoia meaning absence of respiration or from apnos meaning without breathing. When understood literally, sleep apnea is potentially serious condition in which the breathing in a person stops and restarts multiple times in their sleep. Often, people who snore or wake up tired even after a full night’s sleep are known to suffer from this condition.
To qualify as sleep apnea, the breathing in a sleeping person must regularly stop for 10 seconds or more and the condition may be mild, moderate or severe based on the number of times within an hour that a sleeping person stops and restarts breathing.
The Apnea–Hypopnea Index (AHI) is an index used to indicate the severity of sleep apnea. It is represented by the number of apnea events per hour of sleep. The pauses in breathing must last for 10 seconds or more and be associated to decrease in blood oxygen level to qualify as sleep apnea.
Based this index, sleep apnea is graded on severity i.e. an AHI of less than 5 is considered normal. An AHI of 5-15 is mild; 15-30 is moderate and more than 30 events per hour characterize severe sleep apnea.
In India, almost 13% of the population is under threat of this disorder. The prevalence of sleep apnea is also higher in western parts of the country with as many as 19.7% men and 7.4% women suffer from it. Given this context, it is important for us to understand this condition.