Lucknow: A conference on 'dental sleep medicine' has found that about 40 lakh people, particularly, the elderly and obese, suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in India.
Experts at the conference that was held here on Monday, said that if a person wakes up multiple times at night due to breathlessness and experiences dry mouth in the morning with headache and fatigue all day, it could be due to OSA.
In respiratory medicine, OSA is usually treated with continuous positive airway pressure machines, but dentistry also offers easy management.
"Obesity, lifestyle stress and complete tooth fall can cause compression in the upper airway. This adversely affects breathing. If such a condition persists for long and is left untreated, it impacts the body's oxygen requirement and may cause heart and respiratory issues," said Prof Arvind Tripathi, dean of Saraswati Dental College and organiser of the conference.
In dentistry, experts said, the condition can be treated with mandibular advancement device, an oral device that temporarily moves the jaw and tongue forward, which reduces throat constriction and increases airway space.
"About 80 per cent patients do not know they suffer from OSA and that it can be fatal, hence people should have basic knowledge about it," said Dr Ankur of World Health Organization's Lucknow office.