Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a relatively common medical condition that affects between one to five percent of the population. OSA is more common in men than women and is more frequent in people who are overweight and / or aging. This condition is best described as breathing that begins and stays during sleep. Periods of "no breathing" activity are called apneas. Partial obstruction of respiration is called hypopneas. These stops or obstacles occur when the muscles in the throat relax during sleep. This causes the airways to narrow or close. As many as five of these episodes per hour of sleep are considered normal. When more than five episodes occur per hour of sleep, a diagnosis of sleep apnea is usually made. Patients with severe OSA have more than one apnea or hypopnea every minute as they sleep. While these breathing breaks usually last between 20 and 30 seconds, they will sometimes be up to one minute. When breathing ends, oxygen levels drop in the blood, sometimes at dangerously low levels. The brain senses this decrease of oxygen and hurry short-term person from sleep. At this point, the muscles in the back of the neck become more active and keep the airway open so that respiration can be resumed. These wakings make it very difficult to have a good night's sleep.
Soft rhythm snoring is considered to have no significant adverse health effects. But when snoring becomes high with changes in its intensity, breathing may be impaired and sleep disturbed. Close observation often shows a break when breathing in periods when the individual seems to struggle to breathe. These episodes usually end when the sleeper rushes for a moment and gives a loud lull sound as breathing resumes. Sometimes people will wake up from sleep and feel breathless. When these episodes happen, fatigue and sleepiness during the day are results. First, this problem can be mild, with the falling asleep asleep easily as you read or watch television.
As the apnea gets more frequent, it becomes harder to stay awake while doing active things like driving a car or working at work. It is well known that many patients have been involved in motor accidents. Because sleep deprivation is very stressful, affected people may become annoying, undergoing personality changes or having difficulty with memory. Sometimes they will experience headaches in the morning as well as sexual dysfunction. Sleep apnea is often associated with high blood pressure (high blood pressure). When apnea is severe, heart failure may occur. There are also higher incidences of ischemic heart disease and stroke in people with OSA.
Most people with sleep apnea are significantly overweight. Nasal loading is often present, which means that breathing is done through the mouth. This gives dryness and soreness in the mouth of the morning. Any condition that contributes to the decrease in the back of the throat, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, favors the development of sleep apnea.
Ask your doctor if you have high snoring or excessive sleepiness today. The doctor gets then you refer to a sleep disturbance center where experts will thoroughly evaluate the problem. This usually involves sleep monitoring overnight. A test called polysomnography is made to count the number of irregular respiratory events and measure their duration. The test notes the oxygen levels in the blood and will tell if irregularity in the heartbeat continues with reduced breathing. The amount and quality of sleep is tested as well as the effect of sleep positions on breathing.
Before the test, cables will be attached to your body to record brainwave activity, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rate and movement in the chest and abdomen. The oxygen content in your blood will be recorded from a device cut on your ear or placed on your finger. A microphone is usually used to record your snoring pattern. There is no pain or discomfort during the study.
In addition to polysomnography overnight, a thorough examination of the nose, mouth, throat and neck is performed. If surgery is considered, radios are usually recommended in the upper respiratory tract.
Effective treatment is available to almost all patients. For patients with snoring and mild sleep apnea, a conservative approach to therapy is recommended. The following suggestions are often useful:
Avoid alcohol and medicines as tranquilizers and sleeping pills. These drugs relax the muscles in the back of the throat and push the breath.
Sleep on your side or in your stomach instead of on your back. Sleeping on the back can cause heavy and soft gums to collapse towards the back of the throat and block the airway.