The Health Site reports that president of The Indian Association of Surgeons for Sleep Apnea says 90% of sleep apnea cases are misdiagnosed and more awareness of this condition is needed.
If diagnosed, sleep apnea is either treated using a nasal mask known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which treats OSA by applying airway pressure through the mask. This helps in opening the upper airway throughout the breathing cycle. In more advanced cases where the patient isn’t responding to CPAP, he will need to undergo surgery. ‘Most people don’t realize that snoring and poor quality of sleep could actually be sleep apnea. Incorrect diagnosis is a major concern because patients suffering from these symptoms normally visit their family doctor. At this stage, it is critical that they are diagnosed properly, however that rarely happens,’ says Dr Vikas Agarwal. In fact, ENT experts estimate that 18% of snorers have nasal problems like nasal obstruction that needs to be treated.
Dr Agarwal adds that misdiagnosis usually includes thyroid problems, hypertension and even depression and anxiety. ‘The patient is sometimes even put on anti-depressants or told they have a heart condition. This is because sleep apnea is still a new subject and not many physicians are aware of it,’ adds Dr Agarwal. Experts say that the patient’s weight and even facial structure and profile tends to make them more prone to suffering from sleep apnea.