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Obstructive sleep apnea may lead to diseases, death

February 25, 2017

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Dr Muhamad Noorhisyam Salleh Ajak

OBSTRUCTIVE Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder that may lead to health risks such as diseases and even death, according to a consultant otorhinolaryngologist here.

Dr Muhamad Noorhisyam Salleh who is based at KPJ Sentosa KL Specialist Hospital said besides screening for conventional diseases, obstructive sleep apnea should also be noted during a health examination.

"In a health examination, we always focus on the sugar, cholesterol, and other routine tests. But for those with obstructive sleep apnea, examination is necessary to detect the actual cause," he told Bernama here today.

He cited change in lifestyle as a factor in the high incidence of obstructive sleep apnea among Malaysians, apart from physical factors.

An unhealthy lifestyle such as eating habits that cause obesity, cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, lack of sleep were among the predisposing factors for obstructive sleep apnea, he said.

He said the condition if untreated could expose the individual to diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.

"Obstructive sleep apnea is when airflow is partly or completely blocked, leading to lack of oxygen in the body and an increase in carbon dioxide, awakening the sleeper.

"During sleep, the organs carry out their functions including metabolism to break down glucose in the body. Interrupted sleep will pose other health risks," he said.

What was of greater concern, said Dr Muhamad Noorhisyam, was that obstructive sleep apnea could cause coronary artery disease where the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart become narrow.

Narrowed coronary arteries can lead to heart attacks.

Hence, he said, those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea should go for a medical check-up to find out the cause and have it remedied such as with the use of the 'continuous positive airway pressure' machine.

"If it is due to other causes such as tonsils it can be treated with surgery," he said. — Bernama

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Dr Muhamad Noorhisyam Salleh Ajak
Speciality : ENT/ Otorhinolaryngology
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