CHENNAI: After Madras Medical College and Kilpauk Medical College, the latest institution to set up a ‘sleep lab’ on its premises is the Government Stanley Medical College in Royapuram. Funded at a cost of Rs 12 lakh by the Chief Minister’s expanded insurance programme, the lab will offer a polysomnography or sleep study and a remedial surgery if required, free of cost.
“The biggest misconception that people have is that snoring means having a good, satisfying sleep,” said Professor Dr Isaac Christian Moses, Dean of the institution, a day ahead of the launch, on Wednesday. Snoring is, in fact, the sound caused by obstructed air movement, while sleeping. It is often a symptom of sleep apnea – a sleep disorder characterised by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing. “The long-term conditions snoring can lead to are hypertension, diabetes and excessive daytime sleepiness,” he added.
The sleep lab, which offers an overnight polysomnogram for a single patient at a time, will record heartbeat rate, oxygen tensions, brain waves, the respiratory distress index, chest movements and body postures. “Using this data, we identify exactly what the problem is and whether or not opting for surgery is required,” said Dr Anthony Irudhayarajan, Professor of ENT, Head and Neck Surgery at Stanley Medical College. Siraj Jain (50) is one such patient who would wake up to extreme choking fits and never connected it to his snoring problem until he consulted the doctors here recently.
“This went on for five years, I would wake up a few times in the middle of the night unable to breathe and gasping,” he recalled. Jain’s problem turned out to be an enlarged tissue in the throat that once remodelled with surgery (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) has him sleeping like a baby every night.
Other factors that can increase the vulnerability of those with frequent snoring or breathing disorders include a short neck, obesity, craniofacial abnormalities and believe it or not, menopause!