Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypersomnia – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypersomnia?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is a relatively serious sleep disorder in which an individual has abnormal breathing while sleeping in which the breathing abruptly stops and starts. Because of this the individual is not able to get a good night’s sleep resulting in excessive tiredness and daytime drowsiness or what is termed as Hypersomnia. There are various forms of apnea, but the most common form is Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA. This occurs when the throat muscles relax every now and then and block the airway while sleeping. Snoring is the best sign of OSA. OSA with Hypersomnia can be present in anyone but is mostly found in people above the age of 40 and those who are obese. The main treatment for OSA is by using a device which opens the airways always. Surgical procedures to alter the structure of the nose or mouth and also throat are helpful.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypersomnia

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypersomnia?

The main cause of OSA with Hypersomnia is obstruction of the muscles of the throat resulting in blockage of airways and affecting normal breathing while sleeping. These muscles are used for support of structures like soft palate and the uvula, tonsils, and tongue. When these muscles relax the airway closes and the breathing gets affected for a few seconds. This lowers the levels of oxygen and the individual arises from sleep briefly. It may be so brief that the individual may hardly be able to feel it. Sometimes, the individual may make a snorting or a gasping sound as well. This may be repeated frequently during a night’s sleep resulting in poor sleep and Hypersomnia or excessive drowsiness during daytime.

What Are The Risk Factors For Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypersomnia?

Some of the risk factors for developing OSA are

  • Obesity: More than 50% of people with obesity suffer from OSA with Hypersomnia.
  • Enlarged Neck: Individuals with increased neck size are also at risk for having Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Hypersomnia
  • Hypertension: This is also a risk factor for Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Hypersomnia.
  • Diabetes: Individuals suffering from diabetes also are at an increased risk for developing OSA with Hypersomnia.
  • Sex: Males usually develop OSA more than females.
  • Family History: A family history of this sleep disorder puts an individual at risk for having it as well.
  • Smoking/Drinking: Smokers and alcohol abusers tend to have this disorder more than normal people.

What Are The Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypersomnia?

Some of the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea are:

  • Hypersomnia
  • Snoring
  • Apneic episodes while sleeping
  • Abrupt waking up from sleep
  • Awakening with chest pain
  • Getting up with dry mouth
  • Early morning headaches
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Hypertension.

How Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypersomnia Diagnosed?

To begin with, the treating physician will conduct a detailed history taking and inquire as to the duration of the symptoms. Based on the symptoms the physician may recommend you to a sleep specialist who will conduct further tests to confirm the diagnosis of OSA. The sleep specialist may admit you overnight for observing the breathing pattern to look for any apneic episodes during sleep. Some of the tests conducted to confirm the diagnosis of OSA are:

Polysomnography: This is a test in which the patient is connected to a device which monitors the heart, lung and brain activity, breathing pattern, and oxygen levels in the blood while asleep. This test by far confirms the diagnosis of OSA and allows the physician to formulate a treatment plan.

Oximetry: This test monitors the blood oxygen level while asleep and is an effective way to diagnose OSA. In case of an OSA there will be a drop in the oxygen levels during an apneic episode.

How Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypersomnia Treated?

The most conservative approach for treating OSA with Hypersomnia is by making lifestyle modifications in the form of maintain an ideal weight, exercising regularly, abstaining from smoking and alcohol, using nasal congestants if you are prone to nasal congestions. If these measures do not improve the symptoms then the next approach is application of devices such as a CPAP machine which regularizes breathing and controls OSA. This is the most common method of controlling OSA with Hypersomnia, although it may uncomfortable to begin with.

Medications: There are also medications which can be used for controlling OSA by means of medications which reduces sleepiness and improves Hypersomnia.

If all these treatments are not helpful then the last resort is surgery to prevent blockage of airways while sleeping. The surgical procedure done is called as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty in which the surgeon doctor removes tissue from the back of mouth and top of throat. A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy is also performed along with it. This procedure is done in an inpatient setting.

Another form of surgical procedure is a jaw surgery in which the surgeon advances forward the upper and lower parts of the jaw from the remainder of the facial bones allowing space behind the tongue thus preventing obstruction.

At times implantation of tiny polyester rods are done in the soft palate which supports the soft palate and prevent upper airway collapse and improve snoring.

What Are The Complications Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea With Hypersomnia?

Some of the complications of OSA with Hypersomnia are:

  • Increased incidences of heart diseases
  • Excessive daytime fatigue
  • Ophthalmologic Problems.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 16, 2019

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