Dr Ajay Handa Senior Consultant | Pulmonologist In Banglore | Book An Appointment At Sakra

Pulmonologist In Bangalore

Dr. Ajay Handa is among the top pulmonologist in Bangalore, working as a Senior Consultant- Pulmonology & Critical Care Medicine Specialist at Sakra World Hospital. He is the best lung specialist in Bangalore with vast experience in treating various lung diseases. He did his MBBS from Armed Forces Medical College Pune in Dec 1989, followed by MD in General Medicine from the same Institution. He completed Post-doctoral training in DM (Pulmonary & Critical care Medicine) from PGIMER, Chandigarh in Dec 2006.

He has vast experience in Interventional Pulmonology procedures including diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopy, EBUS bronchoscopy, Thoracoscopy pleural biopsy, talc pleurodesis, Intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy, and bronchial thermoplasty. He has a keen interest in research and has authored over 38 publications in peer-reviewed national, and international journals and books. For his clinical achievements, research publications, and contributions to the field he has been conferred the Fellowship of the American College of Chest Physicians in Feb 2010 and the Fellowship of the Indian College of Physicians Medicine in Jan 2019.

He has been MCI recognized Professor for MD (Medicine) and DNB (Medicine) since 2010 and has mentored many students during this period. He has served in many Armed Forces Hospitals for over three decades and his last assignment prior to joining Sakra World Hospital was as Senior Consultant and Head of Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine at the Institute of Naval Medicine, Mumbai.
MBBS, MD (Medicine), DNB (Medicine), DM (Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine) 
Fellow of American College of Chest Physicians & Fellow of Indian College of Physicians
His areas of interest include Lung Infections, Asthma, COPD, Allergic broncho-pulmonary Aspergillosis, diffuse parenchymal lung diseases, CTD-related interstitial lung disease, Sarcoidosis, Drug-induced lung diseases, and pulmonary hypertension.

Interventional Pulmonology - diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopy, Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) bronchoscopy, Thoracoscopy/Pleuroscopy for pleural biopsy and talc pleurodesis, Intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy, and Bronchial thermoplasty.
  • Fellowship of the American College of Chest Physicians (FCCP) 
  • Fellowship of Indian College of Physicians (FICP)
  • Fellowship of Academy of Pulmonary Sciences India (FAPS)
  • Dr. Shurvir Trust Visiting professorship award by the Association of Physicians of India  

He is a member of numerous professional bodies including the National College of Chest Physicians, the Indian Association of Bronchology, the Association of Physicians of India, the National Association for the study of lung cancer, India, the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine, and the Marine Medicine Society of India.
He has authored 38 papers in peer-reviewed national and international journals and in various books. He has been actively delivering talks and academic presentations at national and state conferences organized by various professional bodies and hospitals. 

He has been an active Postgraduate teacher of Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine with Bangalore Chest group, the Karnataka chapter of API, and the Medical Education Research Trust in Bangalore.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Sleep Apnea is a disease wherein sleep-related breathing disturbance causes health effects due to low oxygen levels and the disruption of sleep results in excessive daytime sleepiness interfering in an individual's day-to-day life and profession.

When the person is sleeping, the upper part of the airway which connects the mouth to the windpipe consists of the pharynx and hypo-pharynx. In these areas, the muscle tends to be very floppy due to a lack of firm support of cartilage or bone. During deep sleep, the tone in these muscles reduces and they collapse during breathing causing loud snoring, and reduced airflow during breathing, and if complete closure, it prevents air from entering the lungs. These episodes happen throughout the night multiple times which causes poor quality of sleep due to fragmentation, frequent disruption, and repeated awakening, either physically or in the form of abnormal jerking movements, choking episodes, gasping for breath, and nightmares. The end result is the person wakes up in the morning not feeling refreshed and having excessive daytime sleep in episodes throughout the day leading to poor concentration and interference in the professional sphere.

It is a lifestyle disease intimately related to being overweight and obese. Hence individuals having a weight that is above their ideal weight have a greater tendency of having obstructive sleep apnea. The excess fatty tissue in obese persons tends to get deposited around the upper part of the airways( pharynx and hypopharynx) reducing their diameter. Those with a body mass index (BMI) > 30 are considered to be at higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea. The prevalence of sleep apnea in India is about 5% in males and 2.5% in females in various surveys.

Other risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Tobacco smoking
  • Alcohol abuse 
  • Allergic nose problems( rhinitis)
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Thyroid gland dysfunction(Hypothyroidism)
  • Pituitary gland dysfunction ( Acromegaly)
  • Tonsil or adenoid enlargement in young children
  • Facial abnormality- small mal-position of the lower jaw

  • Snoring – loud snoring which disturbs the spouse is the most common symptom
  • Witnessed Apneas – spouse nudges the patient for “stopped” breathing 
  • Waking up with a gasping episode due to air hunger
  • Waking up with a choking episode or bout of cough
If you snore with any of the above symptoms, it's best to approach your doctor and get an assessment done to rule out Sleep Apnea.

The diagnostic test is an overnight sleep study in a sleep laboratory. A sleep laboratory is just like a bedroom where patients sleep comfortably just like they sleep at home. This sleep study test is technically called Polysomnography and is designed to assess the sleep, breathing pattern, and oxygen saturation levels in the laboratory under observation by a trained technician who monitors these parameters in real time.

The sleep study equipment records various parameters including sleep stages, breathing patterns, respiratory efforts, leg movements, snoring, and oxygenation during the overnight sleep period:

  • Brain waves pattern in sleep- electroencephalography (EEG)
  • The activity of the eyes and the chin muscles ( EOG)
  • The activity of chin Muscle activity (EMG)
  • Airflow through the nose and mouth 
  • Respiratory movements of the chest and abdomen
  • Electrocardiography for the heart beating rhythm (ECG)
  • Body position monitoring
  • Snoring sounds 
  • Pulse oximetry for oxygen saturation
  • Leg movements during sleep

In this type of sleep apnea, the respiratory center in the brain does not generate any signals to the respiratory muscles leading to episodes of Apnea or hypopneas. It is usually found in people with brain disease (after stroke/brain infections) or heart disease (with heart failure).

If anyone in your family has warning signs of sleep apnea, then we at Sakra World Hospitals offer video consultation services where you can discuss the problems with Specialist doctors. If the symptoms are suggestive of Sleep Apnea and there are no other diseases like chronic lung disease, stroke, or heart disease, a limited sleep study can be done at your home to make a diagnosis of Sleep apnea. This is not the ideal type of sleep study but in persons with high probability can be useful for the diagnosis of sleep apnea.

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the most important preventive measure
  • Exercise regularly 30-40 minutes per day
  • Maintain healthy food habits
  • If you are obese, then reduce weight to your ideal body weight gradually
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking tobacco

Sleep apnea which is causing sleep disturbance, frequent awakening, witnessed apnea episodes and daytime sleepiness needs urgent treatment. The treatment of choice is using a device called Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The CPAP machine delivers air under positive pressure through tubing to a mask. The mask is applied to the patient using velcro straps to cover the nose (nasal mask) or covers the face and nose (full face mask- if nose blockage). Air under positive pressure prevents the collapse of the upper airways and improves the sleeping pattern and oxygen saturation. It is very important to explain that the CPAP device has to be used regularly during sleep by the patients. Apart from this, they need to maintain the ideal body weight and develop the habit to sleep on either side to avoid lying flat on the back (supine).

Unrecognized or untreated sleep apnea is a major health problem. It predisposes to the development of Hypertension, Diabetes, heart attack, brain stroke, and abnormal heart rhythms, and also increases the risk of sudden death.

Unfortunately, there are no medications for treating sleep apnea as it results from upper air passage closure during deep sleep. CPAP is the treatment of choice and is life-saving if used regularly during sleep.

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