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Sleep Apnoea – Realize the risks when you are awake!

Sleep apnoea happens when you literally stop breathing when you are asleep. There are two places where the air circulation is controlled, nose and mouth. There is a possible scenario where fat could get stored in the tissue behind the tongue, which leads to obstructive sleep apnea. Generally, when you to sleep, your muscles go to sleep, and when the muscles go to sleep, they fall back and become flexible.

Since the airway is blocked, there is not going to be a way for airflow. As you know, the lungs function on their own as they receive the input from the medulla oblongata through impulses. Here, the problem arises when the air does not enter the passage despite the impulses sent and received between the brain and lungs. As this persists, your resistance increases and the pulse fall down. At this point, the brain receives an input from lungs denoting that there is an issue with air circulation and this tends the brain to stir you up from sleep, sometimes it completely awakens you.

Otherwise, the impulse from the brain tightens up the tissue and circulation becomes normal and the air passes through the trachea. The brain goes back to sleep, the tissue once again becomes flabby and it blocks the area. If you notice the oxygen saturation level, it goes up and down, continuously and anything that makes this obstruction bad is going to make sleep apnea worse.

There are two important factors you must be aware of what happens when this happens at

  1. Supine
  2. REM Sleep


Supine is the sleeping posture of you lying straight on your back. This does not happen with all, but for some being supine can make it worse. This is because for some their tongue could fall back and make the area close off.


At REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, we dream; at this state due to the body’s defense mechanism, we become paralyzed. So most of the muscles becomes paralyzed, this includes the muscles that keep the airway open. REM sleep makes obstructive sleep apnea worse.

Risk Factors

  • Higher risks for Men

This does not mean women cannot have it. 24% of men stop breathing in the middle of sleep and they are twice as likely to have sleep apnea.

  • Age

Sleep apnea is more prevalent in the patients of age group 50 – 57.

  • Genetic Factors

This increases the risk by 22% – 86%. If your family members are affected with apnea, you are more likely to have it in future.

  • Obesity

Obesity increases the risk by 10 – 14 times. If you have 10% increase in weight that can be 6 times increase in 4 years.

Though mild sleep apnea could be treated with simple diagnosis, continuous medications will be required for advanced conditions. Luckily sleep apnea can time and again be well nursed with positive results.