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ENT Knowledge Base


Sleep Breathing Disorder

Sleep breathing - What is sleep?

It is now known to be an active process and plays a very important to our general health and well being.

Why is sleep important?

A sleep of good quality is of vital importance, it

  1. Restores our mind and body

  2. Enhances the building phase of our metabolism

  3. Organize and consolidate the recent memories

  4. Is part of normal development of brain and normal behavior in kids

Normal Physiology of Sleep

In healthy adult, a normal sleep should last for around 8 hours. The need for sleep is higher in younger age. Children of 5-12 years old may need to sleep for 9-11 hours, while a newborn baby may sleep up to 18 hours a day. As we grow older, we tends to have more light sleep instead of deep sleep and more awakenings, which in turn affect the overall sleep quality.

Sleeps are divided into different stages. There are totally 4 stages of sleep.

Common sleep disorders

Sleep disordered breathing:

  1. Primary snoring

  2. Upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS)

  3. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS)

  4. Central aponea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea refers to the condition that a person pauses breathing episodically during sleep. Sleep apnea is usually classified into central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

Impacts of obtrusive sleep apnea in adults

Short term impact:

  1. Excessive daytime sleepiness which may interfere with daily activities

  2. Loud snoring which affect the bed partner

Long term impact:

  1. Develop serious medial

Impacts of obstructive sleep apnea in children

  1. Poor concentration span and poor attention

  2. In long term the intellectual development will be affected as well. There may be significant behavioral problems as well as enuresis ( wet the bed at night time).

Assessment of Obstructive sleep apnea

​If you suspected yourself to have obstructive sleep apnea, first you should visit your ENT consultant for a detailed assessment,such as sleep endoscope, of your symptoms with a detailed examination of the nose and throat region, to identify the possible sites of obstruction preliminary.

Sleep Study Test

Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome in adults

  1. Weight loss, modification of life styles and hygiene e.g. avoid caffeine, alcohol before sleep

  2. PAP machine: a positive airway pressure machine which helps to keep the air way open during sleep

  3. Surgical management

  4. Others: some medications are said to help sleep apnea but with limited effectiveness

PAP Machine
Sleep Mask

Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome in children

Since the developing body and mind of a child is much more susceptible to the detrimental effects of obstructive sleep apnea, a much stringent guideline is followed and early intervention and treatment is required. After thorough assessment, any preexisting nasal conditions should be treated and controlled first, and obesity should be managed followed by surgical management.

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