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Sleep Apnea: “Snoring Is An Alarming Sign Of Breathlessness While Sleeping”

Sleep Apnea: “Snoring Is An Alarming Sign Of Breathlessness While Sleeping”


A 48-year-old obese businessman came to Mission Health with complaints of difficulty in breathing while sleeping. He had history of loud snoring for the last 10 years. In the last eight months, he had started getting difficulty in breathing while sleeping so he experienced many sleepless nights which made him restless during daytime. Gradually, he started using a CPAP machine to assist his breathing. He also had an episode of depression and difficulty in paying attention at work. By looking at his sleep history, signs and symptoms it was confirmed that he was suffering from Sleep Apnea.

Sleep Apnea:

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder which happens when breathing is interrupted during sleep. It can happen to any person but middle to old aged obese males are more prone to experiencing this. People with sleep apnea stop breathing for several times during their sleep which is very dangerous. If it’s not treated it can cause a number of health conditions like hypertension, stroke, heart failure, diabetes and heart attacks. It can also be responsible for road traffic accidents and job impairments.

Signs And Symptoms:


-Restlessness during sleep

-Frequent nighttime awakenings

-Night sweats

-Daytime sleepiness

-Sudden awakenings with a sensation of gasping or choking

-Dry mouth upon awakening

-Mood disturbances, depression

-Frequent urinating at night

-Trouble concentrating


-Sexual dysfunction

Causes And Risk Factors:

Causes of sleep apnea depend upon its types:

1.Obstructive sleep apnea: which occurs when throat muscles are being relaxed.

2.Central sleep apnea: which occurs when brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Obesity, person with thick throat, hypertension, nasal congestion, enlarged tonsils, small jaw and old age male are at higher risk of getting sleep apnea.


-Patient’s signs, symptoms and sleep evaluation are enough to diagnose sleep apnea.

-Polysomnogram or Home sleep test: to test vital parameters during sleep at night to diagnose sleep apnea medically.

Physiotherapy And Rehabilitation:

-Mild to moderate cases are generally treated with CPAP, while difficult cases need Bi Pap as an assistive device for breathing in cases of sleep apnea.

-Physiotherapy plays major role in reducing as well as weaning off the assistive breathing devices and to improve quality of life in patients with sleep apnea.

-Obesity Management: Aerobic and anaerobic exercises, High Intensity Functional Training and nutritional guidelines to reduce extra fat and increase muscle mass thus reducing weight.

– MyoMed: Electrical stimulation of throat muscles to improve their contraction while breathing during sleep.

-Tongue and throat muscles exercises to improve breathing.

-Pranayam and relaxation techniques to relax the body and mind, to improve mental health and also quality of life.

In the above-mentioned case when he was treated at Mission Health cardio pulmonary rehab clinic with aerobic and anaerobic exercises, throat muscles exercises, breathing exercises – pranayama and myomed for 12 weeks, his weight got reduced by 8kgs, he could wean off the CPAP machine, his sleep apnea attack frequency reduced and his quality of life improved. Thanks to Mission Health cardio pulmonary rehab clinic!

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