Snoring might be a sign of OSA

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - Page 2

Frequent loud snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness might be signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a physician said yesterday, adding that about 1 million Taiwanese have the condition, which can also lead to increased risk of traffic accidents.

A man surnamed Liu (劉) snored loudly, woke abruptly during the night with a dry mouth or sore throat, and had excessive daytime sleepiness.

His wife, disturbed by her husband’s snoring, urged him to see a doctor, who diagnosed Liu with severe OSA, said Shiao Guang-ming (蕭光明), an attending physician at Taipei Veterans General Hospital’s chest department and founding president of the Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine.

Liu was found to stop breathing more than 55 times per hour during sleep, Shiao said.

Liu was treated with a continuous positive airway pressure device, which is a face or nasal mask connected to a pump that provides a positive flow of air into the nasal passage, Shiao said, adding that the treatment alleviated Liu’s snoring, and improved his breathing and sleep quality.

Of the three types of sleep apnea — OSA, central sleep apnea and mixed apnea – OSA is the most common, Shiao said, adding that the condition is often associated with obesity and irregular upper airway structures that cause complete or partial obstruction of air flow during sleep.

There has been no large epidemiological study on OSA in Taiwan, but according to previous surveys, an estimated 5 percent of the population, or about 1 million people, have the condition, Shiao said, adding that about 4,000 to 5,000 people might be in need of continuous positive airway pressure therapy.

Statistics from other countries suggest that people who have OSA are about 3.47 times more at risk of getting involved in a traffic accident, Shiao said, adding that the risk declined after patients received positive airway pressure therapy.

People with mild or medium-level OSA can also be treated with a tongue stabilizing device or receive a sleep apnea surgical procedure, he said, adding that people should see a doctor if they have suspected symptoms.