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Lucknow: If you wake up multiple times at night due to breathlessness and experience dry mouth in the morning with headache and fatigue all day, it might be due to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Experts discussed various aspects of the condition at an international conference on ‘dental sleep medicine’ on Monday. About 40 lakh people, particularly the elderly and obese, suffer from OSA in India, they said.

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% 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.

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