Many may not know what Sleep Apnea is



Common misconception about SNORING means deep sleeping or 'enjoy the sleep'. We have read, heard or someone we know died in sleep due to cardiac arrest. There is at least one person who snore every night in every family but how many are managing their Sleep Disorder?


Snoring is a sound resulting from turbulent airflow that causes the tissues of the nose and throat to vibrate during sleep. The turbulent air flow is related to a narrowing at some point in the nose, mouth, or throat.

  • About 40% of adult men and 24% of adult woman are habitual snorers.
  • Sleeping on your back may make you more likely to snore.
  • Snoring can be a nuisance to your bed partner or any one sharing room with you.
  • Heavy Snoring may be associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea,  a serious sleep disorder.


What Is Sleep Apnea? 

Snoring may be a sign of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is characterized by multiple episodes of breathing pauses greater than 10 seconds at a time, due to upper airway narrowing or collapse. This result in sudden decreasing of Oxygen level, increase blood pressure and also to cause the heart to work harder.
When your body starts to struggle for oxygen, this causes disruption your sleep cycle. This can happen up to 300 times per night lasting from at least 10 second to more than 1 minute each time.


How can the severity be determined?

The Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) and oxygen desaturation levels are used to indicate the severity of obstructive sleep apnea.

AHI is the number of apneas and hypopneas recorded during the study per hour of sleep. It is generally expressed as the number of events per hour. Based on the AHI, the severity of OSA is classified as follows:


AHI table


    What are the types of airway closures?

    Obstructive Hypopnea Obstructive Apnea
    • A partial blockage of the airway
    • Mostly loud snoring can be heard
    • Full blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep
    • Person tend to be silent during apnea event followed by choking/snorting sounds to gasp for air
    Hypopnea Apnea
    hypopnea apnea

    What are the Symptoms of OSA?

    • Severe exhaustion
    • Forgetfulness
    • Difficulty in concentrating
    • Loud snoring
    • Irregular breathing e.g Choking/ Snorting in sleep
    • Excessive daytime sleepiness
    • Morning headache
    • Fatigue
    • Frequent visits to bathroom at night (Nocturia)
    • Sexual dysfunction


     Top Health Risk Related To OSA



    Obesity is a medical condition that occurs when a person carries excess weight or body fat that might affect their health. A doctor will usually suggest that a person has obesity if they have a high body mass index.

    BMI calculation

    BMI ranges
    • below 18.5 – you're in the underweight range.
    • between 18.5 and 24.9 – you're in the healthy weight range.
    • between 25 and 29.9 – you're in the overweight range.
    • between 30 and 39.9 – you're in the obese range.

    Diabetes Mellitus:
    Sleep Apnea is related to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. PAP Therapy can help to improve insulin sensitivity.

    Hypertension:Blood pressure

    Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. It can lead to severe health complications and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and sometimes death.
    Hypertension is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including strokeheart attackheart failure, and aneurysm. Keeping blood pressure under control is vital for preserving health and reducing the risk of these dangerous conditions.

    Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): GERD

    Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return. Therefore, gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach's contents back up into the esophagus.
    Research shows that a relationship exists between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and GERD. One report suggests that around 60 percent of patients with OSA also experience GERD.
    When OSA occurs, changes in pressures within the diaphragm and the chest cavity make conditions favorable for acid reflux. It is also thought that an episode of apnea could alter digestive processes in a way that disrupts the function of the LES.  Apneas also cause more “respiratory effort” during sleep. This might force a change in pressure in the esophagus that leads to an increased chance for reflux.

    Heart Attack: Heart attack
    Sleep Apnea is linked to heart problem because pauses in breathing reduce oxygen level, disrupt blood pressure multiple times each night. This progress gradually add stresses on your heart which could eventually cause heart problems like Congestive Heart Failure, Coronary Artery Disease, and Irregular Heartbeat.
    CPAP therapy can reduce your chance of suffering from heart problems. 

    Stroke: Stroke
    People with untreated Sleep Apnea are two to four times more likely to suffer from stroke. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to brain is interrupted, depriving the brain from oxygen. 
    Sleep Apnea as a result of pauses in breathing during sleep decreases flow of oxygen in the blood and brain.  

    Gout: Gout
    Gout is a common type of arthritis that causes intense pain, swelling, and stiffness in a joint. It usually affects the joint in the big toe.
    Gout attacks can come on quickly and keep returning over time, slowly harming tissues in the region of the inflammation, and can be extremely painful. Hypertension, cardiovascular, and obesity are risk factors for gout.
    People with sleep apnea have higher chances of developing gout, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed data on nearly 16,000 people with sleep apnea and more than 63,000 people without apnea who were followed for a median of nearly six years. (Half were followed longer, half for less time.)
    Overall, 4.9 percent of sleep apnea patients and 2.6 percent of the others developed gout. People with sleep apnea had a 42 percent higher risk of gout


    Accidents on road, at work and Societal Consequences: Car accident
    The common symptom of Sleep Apnea includes excessive daytime sleepiness. Lack of focus and concentration while driving or operating equipment at work may lead to fatal accidents. Other symptoms include memory loss, depression, irritable, lack of energy to socialize.

    Medical Expenses Medical bills
    CPAP Therapy is long-term and non-invasive therapy. It helps to reduce medical expenses in the long-run. For instance it reduces visits to doctors; treatments for chronic health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes.



       To find out about sleep apnea test in Singaporeclick here.