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Be Cautious of Sleep Apnea Syndrome Caused by Tonsil Swelling

A 56-year-old woman with a history of hypertension gets tired easily in the daytime and even falls asleep while sitting. Her family complained about her loud snoring. The endoscopic examination found the collapse of the oropharyngeal lateral wall and the polysomnography showed her apnea-hypopnea index was as high as 18, so she was diagnosed with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. After the treatment in the E.N.T. Department, the living quality of the patient soon improved.
Xie Yu-xiang, physician of the E.N.T. Department in the Renai Branch of Taipei City Hospital, points out that the incidence rate of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is about 5-10% of the population. Most of the patients are men over 40, who are obese and have a history of hypertension, but some women or thinner people also suffer from the disease.
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome usually has many pathogenic locations, which may deteriorate with age, leading to complications such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, hypertension or metabolic syndrome, and hypoxemia or even sudden death in more serious cases.
The main treatments comprise continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and surgery, combined with weight reduction, sleeping on the side and wearing braces. CPAP may cause obstruction and discomfort, while surgery can make the respiratory tract collapse again due to tissue aging with time. The causes of slight obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and the places obstructed are simplex, which can be improved by surgery. In severe cases, CPAP, weight reduction, sleeping on the side and wearing braces are all required after the surgery.
Sleep is an important part of the physiological cycle of human beings. Patients with hypoxemia are hardly aware of their own conditions during sleep; instead, symptoms usually appear as fatigue, drowsiness, snoring, memory loss and lack of concentration during the daytime. Dr. Xie urges patients to request an examination in the E.N.T. Department when experiencing continuous symptoms. Early examination and early intervention therapy constitutes the top guideline for treating the disease.