Alarmed by the high prevalence of sleep disorders among the Indian population and the lack of specific data on this, an Indian-Norwegian group that is running a chain of clinics across the country to treat the disorders will now conduct detailed research on them and recommend remedial measures.
Despite an estimated 15 per cent of Asians suffering from one or the other kind of sleep disorder, there is lack of India-specific data which is hampering research and treatment, said Ashim Desai, senior ENT consultant with Nova Specialty Surgery (NSS), which has tied up with world leader in sleep treatment, Eurosleep of Norway, for the study.
“Although there is a lot of global data, there is no comprehensive India-specific data available. The need of the hour is to conduct research studies in this area for the Indian population. We shall conduct research over a large geographic area into the demographics, causes and management of sleep disorders,” Mr. Desai told IANS.
He said sleep disorders are a new area of interest globally, as studies have shown that an increasing number of lifestyle diseases are directly attributable to lack of proper sleep.
Eurosleep Global CEO Magne Tvinnereim said that globally validated set protocols are being instituted at all NSS centres.
“NSS’s involvement in this research aims to achieve complete online data integration, to generate meaningful insights from the data collected on the Indian population,” Mr. Tvinnereim explained.
NSS co-founder Mahesh Reddy said that the Nova-Eurosleep Sleep Clinics are the largest provider of diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for the comprehensive study and management of sleep-related disorders in India.
NSS has 10 clinics in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad and one in Muscat. The treatment is mostly day-care but for serious cases requiring surgery, it can be as long as a week. The treatment can cost anything between Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 2,00,000.
Referring to the dangers of sleep disorders, Eurosleep Asia CEO Mohan Nair said these can give rise to several physiological and psychological changes.
“Besides, sleep disorders heighten the risk of developing hypertension, Type II diabetes and increased body weight. These factors aggravate the risk of cardiovascular diseases,” Mr. Nair warned.
While there are some 80 kinds of sleep disorders, the World Association of Sleep Medicine, the organisers of the World Sleep Day every year, says one of the most common is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that causes the throat muscles to relax too much, cutting off or restricting the airway.
Mr. Nair quoted an international study which proved that OSA represents a stress that promotes insulin resistance and hence, atherogenesis, or narrowing of the blood vessels.
The study, published in the prestigious American Jorunal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine, investigated the relationship between sleep-disordered breathing and insulin resistance.
It found that OSA subjects were more insulin resistant, as indicated by higher levels of fasting serum insulin that was present in both obese and non-obese participants.
An analysis of the relationship of insulin resistance and hypertension confirmed that insulin resistance was a significant factor for hypertension in this group and OSA may provide a stress stimulus that triggers or aggravates hypertension. Up to 40 per cent patients suffering from OSA had increased blood pressure.
Among the younger population, sleep-disordered breathing in children is a public health concern, given the increasing rates of obesity and hyperactivity in this segment.
According to research studies, 3-12 per cent of children snore; OSA affects one-10 per cent, leading to a host of health problems which may continue to cause concern or aggravate as they grow.
Since the past one year, Eurosleep Asia has been strengthening its operations in India with focus on spreading technological advancements and know-how, which would facilitate the proposed research on sleep disorders among Indians.
Contrary to the general perception that sleep apnea is a problem associated with the elderly population, Mr. Desai said it is prevalent even among children.
“Consequences of untreated obstructive sleep apnea among children include failure to thrive, enuresis, attention-deficit disorder, behaviour problems, poor academic performance, and cardiopulmonary disease,” Mr. Desai cautioned.