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Obstructive Sleep Apnea: It’s a Disease or a Symptom?

Pushpa B, J. Jasmine


Obstructive sleep apnea is known to be a SECRET KILLER. 5% of the total adult population of 18 million where 4% of middle aged men, 2% of women and 85% of sports players suffer with Obstructive sleep apnea. Neck size of 17 inch for male or bigger and 16 inch for females are at risk for Obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea restricts air space causing obstruction as severe as 30-40 times per hour that lead to decreased oxygen saturation below 7% to our body. The gold standard treatment most commonly used to treat Obstructive sleep apnea is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The main benefit of CPAP is a reduction of subjective feeling of excessive daytime sleepiness. All previous research studies about obstructive sleep apnea, its associated diseases and the confounding factors have all led to confusion to an extent for us to question if Obstructive sleep apnea is a separate disease entity or a marker/ symptom of many other diseases. The prevalence of Obstructive sleep apnea, with its associated mortality and morbidity factors have led to the view that Obstructive sleep apnea may be as big a public health hazard as smoking and hence requires immediate attention.

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