Explained: What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

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Legendary singer-composer Bappi Lahiri died due to obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)?

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a disorder in which a person’s breathing stops and starts repeatedly in their sleep.

This occurs when muscles in the throat and upper airway relax intermittently during sleep and block the airway.

Symptoms: The most common symptoms of OSA are snoring, gasping for breath, abruptly waking up gasping or choking, having a dry mouth or sore throat, inability to concentrate during the daytime among others.

Complications: It can be life-threatening if left untreated. It can trigger chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease among others.

Vulnerable group: It usually happens in obese men and less commonly in women.


One of the most common treatments for OSA is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). CPAP is a mask or device that fits over the nose and mouth of a person suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It blows air into the airways to keep them open at night. 

Another alternative is using an oral appliance, a plastic insert that fits into the mouth and prevents the tongue and tissues from collapsing over the airway.

However, the only sure way to treat the condition is either losing weight or having surgery to remove excess tissue from the palate or throat.

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?” published in Indian Express on 22nd Feb 2022.

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