Sleep disorders like snoring can be the cause of serious ailments and if untreated, can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke, said Dr Reba Kanungo, dean - research, professor of microbiology, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), editor-in-chief , Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology, and former professor of microbiology, JIPMER.
According Dr Kanungo, in the last 20 years, sleep medicine has come into prominence and it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the prevalence of sleep disorders, which should be detected early and treated.
There is an epidemic of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension in India and it is known that sleep apnea has a link to all the afore said conditions.
“Disturbed sleep at night can cause morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness, falling asleep at work or while driving, trouble concentrating, memory loss, irritability and depression with loss of interest in sex. Family members, employers or co-workers may be the first to recognise excessive sleepiness or changes in mood or behaviour and should encourage the patient to visit a doctor,” Dr Kanungo said. An estimated 10 to 30 per cent of adults snore.
It is an important sign of a serious disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), she said and added that OSA can be diagnosed by doing a sleep study and treated effectively, by positive airway pressure therapy, medical management and surgical management.
Sleep laboratories are now present in all major cities in the country.
Diseases that can be diagnosed and treated in sleep laboratories are — snoring, sleep apnea, sleep walking, sleep talking, night fits and other sleep disorders.
In Pondicherry, there is a functioning sleep lab at PIMS that does — diagnostic sleep study, CPAP titration study, split night study, multiple sleep latency test and video EEG at night for nocturnal seizures, said Dr Kanungo.