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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction. While it can lead to daytime drowsiness and lethargy, it can be potentially life threatening if left untreated. Sleep apnea is a condition where the blockage of the airway prevents air from getting into the lungs. This leads to snoring at regular pace and short periods of time where the breathing ceases.


This is followed by sudden attempts to breathe with a loud gasp and snort. Consequently this condition affects the sleep and the person is not well rested. Besides the oxygen levels remain low leading to drowsiness and tiredness. Severe sleep apnea is likely to cause pulmonary hypertension. A large neck or collar size can be one of the causes of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be potentially life threatening since it can cause heart attacks or strokes.


Diagnosis of sleep apnea

  • ECG to show arrhythmia during sleep

  • Echocardiogram to study the heart functioning

  • Thyroid function tests

  • Sleep studies


Sleep apnea treatment

Treatment for sleep apnea can range from lifestyle modification, medication to even surgery in some cases. Weight loss and avoiding smoking are some of the changes that may need to be introduced into the lifestyle to prevent episodes of sleep apnea.

Marfan's syndrome

Marfan's syndrome is a disorder that affects the connective tissue. The connective tissues hold the body together and provide a framework for growth and development. When a person suffers from this condition, the connective tissue fails to act as it should. Marfan syndrome affects the skeleton, nervous system, skin, lungs, eyes, heart and blood vessels. This syndrome is usually hereditary but spontaneous gene mutation in a person can also cause this condition. Marfan's syndrome can range from light to severe and can occur in many parts of the body. In severe cases this syndrome affects the cardiovascular system.

Marfan's syndrome is caused by a defect in the gene that is responsible to produce a protein that is an important component of the connective tissue. This defect leads to increase in another protein called TGFB (Transforming Growth Factor Beta) that leads to the condition.


Marfan's syndrome symptoms

Symptoms can vary from mild to moderate depending on the severity of the problem. Generally symptoms progress along with the age of the patient. Symptoms depend upon which part of the body is afflicted.

Skeleton


  • People are tall, slim and have loose joints.
  • People have long arms, fingers, legs and toes as this syndrome affects the long bones of the skeleton.
  • Person has long and narrow face.
  • Flat feet
  • Crowded teeth as the mouth is arched.
  • Curved backbone
  • Breastbone either sticks out or caves in.

Lungs

  • Lung collapse in a few cases
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Sleep apnea

Nervous system

  • Swelling of the sac around the spinal column

Skin

Eyes (ocular system)

Cardiovascular system

  • Valve malformations
  • Palpitations
  • Heart murmur
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dilatation
  • Aortic dissection

Marfan's syndrome diagnosis

Diagnostic criteria for Marfan's syndrome are sometimes called Ghent Criteria, named after the city in Belgium where doctors decided which features to include on the list.

  • Physical examination
  • Echocardiogram
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • Slit-lamp exam for the eyes
  • Eye pressure test
  • Blood test for genetic testing

While there is no treatment for the condition as such, treatments are aimed at the associated symptoms.


Obesity

Obesity is a condition where a person has much greater body weight than is healthy. A person is said to be obese when he has a BMI above 30. When there is a BMI of 40 and more, it is morbid obesity. The world statistics show that there has been an alarming rise of nearly 50% in the number of obese adults. Another disturbing trend is the increase in the number of obese adolescents. Obesity occurs due to eating too much food coupled with lack of exercise. Sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor eating habits are most often to blame for obesity. A diet that includes processed foods, trans fat and too much alcohol will make a person overweight. Other factors contributing to obesity are stress, depression, medications, illness and emotional problems. Emotional comfort eating can pile on the weight.


Medical conditions such as Cushings' Syndrome and PCOS can lead to obesity. In some cases, hypothyroidism might be the cause for weight gain. Medications like antidepressants can lead to added weight. Health problems that can arise due to obesity are heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and sleep apnea. Obesity can be tackled by checking if there is any underlying medical condition. When dealing with an obese person, thyroid test and endocrine tests are done. Embark on a weight management program after checking with your health professional or nutritionist. A healthy body weight is a combination of exercise and good nutrition. Extreme diets and fad diets only worsen the condition by leading to yo-yo weight and improper nutrition. Weight that is lost by very low calorie diets is not permanent and has disastrous consequences.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 19, 2017