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Why is obstructive sleep apnea concerning? Does it increase your risk of chronic illnesses?

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Singer-composer Bappi Lahiri, the iconic figure and face behind several disco hits in the late 70s-80s breathed his last at a Mumbai hospital late last night(February 15). Reports state that the legendary singer had been suffering from multiple health issues and finally succumbed to obstructive sleep apnea.

Unlike chronic heart conditions or diabetes or cancer, sleep apnea is a condition that people generally overlook or do not understand. Loud sleeping or snoring is only treated as a nuisance, but if it is an outcome of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it is a sign of a greater health problem.

Also read: Explained: Why your blood sugar level rises when you are sick?

There are different types of sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea is when the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles that control the breathing. It is usually associated with the functions of the central nervous system.

On the other hand, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a more common form of sleep apnea that occurs when the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep. People with OSA experience intervals of complete or partial upper airway blockage during sleep, which compels the chest muscles to work harder to open the airways. Therefore, when the breathing resumes, there is either a gasp or a jerk that follows.

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