Sleep apnea


Overview

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which an individual's breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax. When the muscles relax,  the airway narrows or closes as it breathes in. 
  • Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, which occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Symptoms

  1. Snoring
  2. Morning headache
  3. Fatigue/Tiredness/ Lack of energy/Feeling of weakness
  4. Forgetfulness
  5. Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be reported by another person.
  6. Restless sleep
  7. Dry mouth
  8. Irritability
  9. Daytime sleepiness.

Causes

  • Excess weight - Fat deposits around your upper airway can obstruct your breathing.
  • Neck circumference - People with thicker necks might have narrower airways.
  • A narrowed airway
  • Male or Older age have a higher risk of suffering from sleep apnea
  • Family history - family members with sleep apnea might increase your risk.
  • Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These substances relax the muscles in your throat, which can worsen obstructive sleep apnea
  • Smoking
  • Nasal congestion

According to Ayurveda, three elements are present in our body : vata, pitta and kapha which should be in balance. Sleep apnoea is considered as Nidra roga in Ayurveda because of the imbalance in vata dosha.

Treatment

Treatment protocol aims at:

  1. Relief from symptoms of sleep apnea.
  2. Prevent complications of sleep apnea,
  3. Support overall health of the body that is weakened due to distrubed sleep.

The first line of treatment should always be avoiding the causative factors. If the problem persists then consider the following treatment protocol.

Throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep that create an episode of breathing which stops and starts during sleep with snoring. Incomplete sleep during night causes day time sleep and irritability, restlessness, mood changes  etc. 

Headaches are most commonly experienced by patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea when the oxygen level drops due to the intermittent breathing caused by obstructive sleep apnea. People who have obstructive sleep apnea tend to sleep with their mouths open resulting in Dry mouth

  • Arogyavardhini vati, Vacha, Surasa, Guduchi will correct the metabolism and treat the blocked throat and nasal passages, these herbs also help to balance the vitiated doshas. 
  • Kanchanara guggulu is very effective in treating sleep apnea due to obesity.
  • Jatamansi, vacha will help to calm down the nerves and treat fatigue. 

(The above mentioned Ayurvedic drugs are Herbs and Herbomineral preparations)

Other therapies - Virecana (Purgation) , Udwarthanam(powder massage), Abhyanga (body massage), Padabhyanga (foot massage), shiroabhyanga (head massage) with medicated oils. Shirodhara (Pouring medicated liquids/milk/ water/ oils) on head, Takra dhara (Pouring medicated buttermilk all over the body).

Herbs

Arogyavardhini vati, Vacha, Surasa, Guduchi, Kanchanara guggulu, Jatamansi, vacha.


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