Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. It is a serious disorder which can have significant consequences on a person’s health and quality of life.

Sleep apnea can be classified into the following major categories:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: occurs due to collapse of the upper airway during sleep.

  • Central sleep apnea: arises due to problems affecting the brain’s breathing centre and the muscles that regulate breathing.   

  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome: combination of the above two types of sleep apnea.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring

  • Long breath pauses (apneas) during sleep

  • Arousals due to choking or gasping for breath

  • Morning headache

  • Dry mouth upon waking up

  • Daytime sleepiness

  • Memory and concentration impairment

  • Mood disturbances

The symptoms listed above could indicate a sleep related breathing disorder. If you are experiencing such symptoms, it would be best for you to consult a doctor as early as possible. The Heart, Lungs and Vascular Services​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital are amongst the nation’s best and include two American Board certified Sleep Specialists. Rest assured that you will receive quality healthcare at our facilities.

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so please make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started

Sleep apnea is diagnosed using overnight sleep testing. Your doctor might suggest polysomnography, which is a test in which you are connected to certain apparatus while you sleep. This equipment will monitor and record your breathing, heart rate, brain activity, oxygen levels and movements. If obstructive sleep apnea is confirmed in the early part of the polysomnography, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) titration may be performed during the sleep test.

Various treatment options are available for managing sleep apnea. These include positive airway pressure therapy, oral appliances, and surgeries. In addition, lifestyle modifications, including weight loss and avoidance of certain substances that worsen sleep apnea (such as sleeping pills, narcotics, alcohol, etc.) may also be needed.

The decision about which treatment option will be best suited for you will be taken by you after consulting with your doctor.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.