Understanding the Impact of Sleep Apnoea on Health

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The Different Types of Sleep Apnoea and Their Impact on Health


Sleep apnoea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep [as shown in the video below], leading to disrupted sleep patterns and a variety of health issues.

Video clip courtesy- Canva

Wordwide Statistics

Shown below is a statistics of exact number of sleep apnoea cases countrywise of top ten countries-

CountriesNumber of Cases
1. United States22 million cases
2. India13.7 million cases
3. China12 million cases
4. Brazil6.4 million cases
5. Germany5 million cases
6. Mexico4.9 million cases
7. United Kingdom4.5 million cases
8. France4.2 million cases
9. Italy4 million cases
10. Spain3.8 million cases
A table showing the top 10 countries with number of patients having sleep apnoea

There are three main types of sleep apnoea, each with its own distinct characteristics and potential health consequences.

Image showing three types of sleep apnoea

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common type of sleep apnoea, accounting for approximately 84% of all cases. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, resulting in repeated episodes of complete or partial blockage of the airway during sleep.

Impact on health

OSA can have a significant impact on overall health and well-being. Repeated interruptions in breathing can lead to

  • fragmented sleep,
  • daytime sleepiness, and
  • fatigue.

It has also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Additionally, OSA has been associated with a higher likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression.

Research studies have shown that treating OSA can have a positive impact on health outcomes.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, the most common treatment for OSA, involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth during sleep.

A patient of sleep apnoea on cpap

This mask delivers a constant flow of air, keeping the airway open and preventing apnoea episodes.

Studies have demonstrated that CPAP therapy can improve sleep quality, reduce daytime sleepiness, and lower the risk of associated health conditions.

2. Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA)

Central sleep apnoea is less common than obstructive sleep apnoea and occurs when the brain fails to transmit the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Unlike OSA, CSA is not caused by a physical obstruction of the airway.

Impact on health

CSA can have a significant impact on the body’s oxygen levels and sleep quality. It is often associated with underlying health conditions such as

The symptoms of CSA are similar to those of OSA, including daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

Treatment options for CSA vary depending on the underlying cause. In some cases, addressing the underlying health condition may help alleviate the symptoms of CSA. Other treatment options may include the use of adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) devices or medications to stimulate breathing.

3. Complex Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (CompSA)

Complex sleep apnoea syndrome, also known as mixed sleep apnoea, is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnoea. It occurs when an individual with a history of OSA develops central sleep apnoea after starting CPAP therapy.

CompSA can be challenging to treat, as it requires addressing both the obstructive and central components of the disorder. Treatment options may include adjusting the CPAP settings, using a different type of positive airway pressure device, or exploring alternative therapies such as positional therapy or oral appliances.

What the research say-

Research studies have shown that untreated sleep apnoea, regardless of the type, can have serious implications for overall health.

It has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, cognitive impairment, and even accidents due to daytime sleepiness.

Seeking proper diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnoea is crucial in order to mitigate these risks and improve overall well-being.


In conclusion, sleep apnoea is a sleep disorder that can have a significant impact on health and well-being. Understanding the different types of sleep apnoea and their potential consequences is essential for early detection and appropriate treatment.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of sleep apnoea, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Resources on Sleep Apnoea

For more information and research studies on sleep apnoea and its effects on health, you may refer to the following resources:

If you have a Twitter account, you can click on a similar article that I wrote about sleep apnoea – https://x.com/viva6756/status/1786236379569262703

Final words

I hope you have understood the importance of this topic on Sleep Apnoea.

My next topic will be on a food item that I consider as a good source of proteins for the vegetarians and vegans among my readers as also for meat lovers who love a change in their diet- TOFU.

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