Just 10 days after India lost its nightingale Lata Mangeshkar, veteran singer Bappi Lahiri, fondly known as Bappi Da breathed his last in Mumbai today. According to reports, he died due to obstructive sleep apnea.

Dr Deepak Namjoshi, director of the hospital, told PTI, “Lahiri had been admitted to the hospital for a month due to lung infection which was caused by Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). We had discharged him on Monday and he was absolutely fine. All his vitals were normal. But his health deteriorated on Tuesday and his family called in. He was brought to the hospital. He had multiple health issues. He died due to OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) shortly before midnight.” He was last seen in one of the weekend episodes of Bigg Boss 15 with Salman Khan.

What is obstructive sleep apnea

There are several sleep apnea disorders, out of which obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common breathing disorder. It is when a person repeatedly stops and starts breathing in sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the condition in which your upper airway is blocked by something while you sleep. Due to the blockage, a person’s diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open the airway to pull air into the lungs. In such episodes, a person’s breath becomes shallow, or he may stop breathing briefly and then breathe again with a loud jerk or gasp. Those suffering from OSA may not sleep well but they probably won’t know that it’s happening with them.

This normally occurs when the airway muscles relax more than they should, thereby narrowing your throat. People wake up to open the airway and may not even remember doing it. In acute cases, it may occur multiple times in a hour. Obesity, inflammed tonsils and even health issues like endocrine disorders or heart failure can cause OSA.

Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea

Loud snoring is one of the most common signs of sleep apnea. Other signs include

Excessive daytime sleepiness

Observed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep

Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking

Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat

Morning headache

Difficulty concentrating during the day

Mood changes, such as depression or irritability

High blood pressure

Decreased libido

Treatment of sleep apnea

There are treatments available for obstructive sleep apnea. One of the more common treatments is using a device to keep positive pressure in your airway to ensure they are open while you sleep. Doctors also use a mouthpiece to push your lower jaw forward during sleep. Surgery is also an option in some cases.

According to Dr Manisha Mendiratta, HOD and Senior Consultant, Center for Respiratory Medicine & Sleep Disorders, Sarvodaya Hospital, Faridabad, “About 15% of men and about 12-13% of women in the society suffer from sleep apnea, thought the condition largely remains neglected and undiagnosed. Most people don’t realize they are suffering from sleep apnea.”

  1. What causes obstructive sleep apnea?
    Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA in adults mostly happens due to obesity. The soft tissue of the mouth and throat relaxes during sleep thus blocking the airway. These muscles usually give support to the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate called uvula, the tonsils, and the side walls of the throat and the tongue.So when these muscles relax, the airways narrow down and restrict the flow of air to the body as a result of which the oxygen level in the blood lowers. This causes the brain to wake up the body to reopen the airway. This awakening from deep sleep is usually unnoticeable and can repeat for up to 30 times every night.OSA disrupts the body’s requirement to be in deep sleep.
  2. What is the difference between sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome?
    In obstructive sleep apnea, the upper respiratory system gets blocked or narrowed down thus blocking the airways. The brain repeatedly sends signals to the human body to wake up and continue the breathing.In sleep apnea or the central sleep apnea, the brain forgets or is incapable of sending signals to the body to keep breathing as a result of which the body stops breathing temporarily. Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.
  3. Can obstructive sleep apnea be cured?
    Though Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) and various other oral appliances are used to help the person breathe easily, it is not the cure. The best way to cure sleep apnea is to reduce one’s weight so that one can breathe properly while sleeping.
  4. Is obstructive sleep apnea life threatening?
    Yes definitely it is. Obstructive sleep apnea can trigger chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease. Experts have also linked sleep apnea with the life expectancy of an individual and have said it to be inversely related to each other. The risk of death increases when sleep apnea is untreated.
  5. What are the three types of sleep apnea?
    The three types of sleep apnea are obstructive, central and complex among which the obstructive sleep apnea is very common. In the obstructive sleep apnea the throat muscles relax and slow down respiration, in central sleep apnea the brain stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing thus pausing respiration temporarily and the complex sleep apnea is when both the first sleep apnea occur. The complex sleep apnea is also known as treatment emergent central sleep apnea.
  6. What is the life expectancy of someone with sleep apnea?
    Experts have associated occurence of sleep apnea with lower life expectancy. Sleep apnea worsens chronic illnesses and studies have shown that it decreases the longevity of the person by several years. As per a report, if left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can shorten your life from anywhere between 12-15 years.


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