If you are often labelled as lazy, not ambitious, sleepy or demotivated, you may be suffering from a disease called sleep apnea. Doctors say that Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) often makes one feel excessively sleepy, tired or irritable.
Dr HB Chandrashekhar, director of Jain Institute of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, explains that there has been a rise in OSA among Bangaloreans in the last two or three years.
“We have seen a rise in the number of cases of sleep apnea in Bangalore and it is high time we recognise the severity of the problem. Sleep apnea can put people at the risk of much graver problems like diabetes, stroke and other heart diseases,” he lists out.
He adds, “Some of the common symptoms of OSA are loud and chronic snoring, frequent urination at night, headache in the morning, memory or learning problems, inability to concentrate, irritability, depression and mood swings.”
A recent study conducted by AC Nielsen and Philips found that about 93 per cent of Indians were sleep deprived and getting less than eight hours of sleep a day. This survey was conducted among 5,600 respondents in various cities and included people from all walks of life.
Dr Chandrashekhar notes that out of the 5,600 people, more than 400 were bus drivers. While 58 per cent of people felt that their work suffers due to the lack of adequate sleep, 11 per cent actually fell asleep at work. Seventy two per cent said that they wake up a couple of times at night.
People suffering from OSA generally stop breathing repeatedly during sleep as the airway collapses and prevents air from getting to the lungs. The sleep pattern is disrupted as a result of which, one experiences excessive sleepiness or fatigue during the day.
“People suffering from these symptoms should visit a doctor specialising in sleep disorders. In the western countries, all drivers have to take a sleep apnea test before getting their permit. The transport department in the City should get the same test done by the drivers as many BMTC drivers suffer from inadequate sleep,” says Dr Chandrashekhar.
According to the survey, more middle-aged men suffer from OSA than women and patients with the disease also suffer from other ailments such as hypertension and hypothyroidism.
Sleep apnea is very common among those who work in shifts as well, Amjad, an auto driver, says that he often doses off during the day. “I don’t get adequate sleep as I work late at night and end up sleeping whenever I get some time off during work,” he notes.
Doctors say that there are no medicines available to cure the disease and the only way to keep a tab on it is by using ‘CPap’, a mask-like device.
“The device has many types depending on the condition of the patient. While a simple mask is enough for some, others need an advanced mask for a continuous flow of oxygen,” sums up Bidur Dhaul, senior director, home and healthcare systems, Philips Healthcare.