Ayurveda treatment for sleep apnea

A recent study at AIIMS suggests that around 11% of adult Indians suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), with men being at a higher risk than women.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a prevalent sleep disorder characterized by frequent interruptions in breathing during sleep. These pauses can lead to disrupted sleep and a variety of health problems. People with sleep apnea often snore loudly and experience excessive daytime sleepiness. There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA)

Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway at the back of the throat becomes blocked during sleep, causing snoring and interrupted breathing. This obstruction forces the person to wake up briefly to reopen the airway, leading to fragmented and poor-quality sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Unlike OSA, CSA is not caused by a physical blockage but by a communication issue between the brain and the respiratory system, resulting in periods of shallow or paused breathing.

Mixed/Complex Sleep Apnea

Mixed or complex sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Individuals with this condition experience symptoms of both types.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

– Loud snoring

– Episodes of stopped breathing during sleep

– Gasping or choking during sleep

– Excessive daytime sleepiness

– Morning headaches

– Difficulty concentrating

– Irritability and mood changes

– Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

– Physical Obstruction:

 Blockage of the airway due to relaxed throat muscles, large tonsils, or a deviated septum.

– Obesity:

Excess weight can cause fat deposits around the upper airway, obstructing breathing.

-Genetics:

Family history of sleep apnea can increase risk.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

-Neurological Conditions:

Conditions such as stroke or brainstem injury that affect the brain’s ability to control breathing.

Heart Disorders:

 Congestive heart failure can contribute to central sleep apnea.

-Medications:

Use of certain drugs like opioids can affect the brain’s breathing control.



Allopathic Approach  for Sleep apnea

The allopathic treatment for sleep apnea typically involves a combination of diagnostic studies, medical devices, and lifestyle changes.

Diagnosis

– Sleep Study:

A polysomnography test conducted overnight to monitor breathing patterns, oxygen levels, and other vital signs during sleep.

Treatments

-Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP):

A device that delivers steady air pressure through a mask to keep airways open during sleep.

-Oral Appliances:

Custom-fitted devices that help keep the throat open by repositioning the jaw or tongue.

-Surgery:

 Procedures such as Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or nasal surgery to remove or reduce tissue blocking the airway.

– Lifestyle Modifications:

  – Weight loss

  – Avoiding alcohol and sedatives

  – Sleeping on one’s side

Ayurvedic Approach for Sleep apnea

Ayurvedic treatment for sleep apnea involves natural therapies, lifestyle modifications, and herbal remedies aimed at improving overall health and respiratory function.

Treatments

-Sirodhara: 

Pouring medicated liquids like milk or oils over the forehead to enhance mental clarity and calmness, improving blood flow to the brain.

-Abhyanga:

Ayurvedic massage to boost circulation, promote relaxation, and clear energy channels.

-Nasya:

Nasal administration of herbal oils or powders to improve mental clarity, detoxify, and promote smoother oxygen flow.

  -Types of Nasya

    – Shamana:Soothing to the nervous system.

    – Shodhana:Detoxifying and clears channels in the head.

Lifestyle Modifications

Pranayama:

Breathing exercises to improve respiratory function, tone throat muscles, reduce body weight, and enhance sleep quality.

Herbal Remedies

-Jatamamsi:

Known for its sedative effects, it helps fight sleep disorders and provides a calm, balanced mind.

-Ashwagandha:

Strengthens the immune and nervous systems, reduces fatigue, and promotes better sleep.



By integrating allopathic and Ayurvedic approaches, individuals with sleep apnea can achieve better management of their condition, leading to improved sleep quality and overall well-being.

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