What is Sleep Apnea? In a literal translation from the Greek “Apnea” means “Cessation of breathing”. Apnea during sleep experiencing about 6% of the world’s population and in certain groups of patients, for example, in people suffering from coronary heart disease or arterial hypertension, sleep apnea is diagnosed in 30% of cases.
Sleep Apnea Causes
Sleep apnea can occur for different reasons. In most cases, patients have initially narrowed air passage way, for example, due to obesity, abnormalities of the facial skeleton, chronic nasal inflammation when Smoking, loss of muscle tone of the pharynx in the aging process.
During sleep the body relaxes, including the muscles relax and the pharynx. In healthy people it doesn’t cause breathing problems: conducting air ways remain open. But patients with sleep apnea happening at first partial, and sometimes complete closure of the lumen of the pharynx: the person snores and his breath stops periodically. If sleep disturbance is developing along this path, it is called obstructive sleep apnea, from the word “filibuster” — a “blockage”.
In another embodiment, sleep apnea is caused by dysregulation at the level of the brain. During sleep, the brain ceases to apply impulses to the respiratory muscles and the person is not breathing. Since the “culprit” of the state of the Central nervous system, sleep disorder called Central sleep apnea syndrome.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by several major symptoms:
- snoring during sleep;
- periodic pauses in breathing and snoring for a period of ten seconds or more;
- appearance after each episode of apnea loud or noisy breath, testifying to the restoration of breathing.
When in a state of sleep apnea the oxygen level in the blood is greatly reduced limbs sleeping and his face in the lips can acquire a bluish tint. If you carefully observe a person with the syndrome of sleep apnea in your sleep, you may notice that during stops breathing, the chest and abdomen continue to move – attempt breaths.
Obstructive sleep apnea almost always leads to sleepiness and followed by lethargy, listlessness, poor performance and mood during the day. People with gross violations of the dream may appear as an irresistible daytime sleepiness. Such patients may suddenly fall asleep in the most inappropriate places: during a conversation, driving a car, and Wake up after a few seconds or minutes. They may not notice their “blackouts”.
In Central apnea, the patient is noisy and irregular breathing during sleep, but snoring in this case is not a mandatory satellite of sleep. During stops breathing chest does not make respiratory movements, and at the time of the restoration of breathing is not shraavana.
Despite the fact that there are clinical symptoms of sleep disorders, often diagnosed only by external signs impossible. That is why every patient with suspected sleep apnea should be diagnosed in a specialized somnological center.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Treatment of sleep apnea depends on what type of apnea diagnosed in a person’s:
- obstructive sleep apnea;
- central sleep apnea.
In obstructive sleep apnea mild or uncomplicated snoring may be a surgical operation. In this case, laser energy or electric current, then the excess soft tissue of the nasopharynx, obstructing the airway during sleep.
In obstructive forms, when diagnosed respiratory disorders moderate and severe, surgical treatment of sleep apnea is contraindicated. This is due to the fact that this variant of the disease is usually caused by a combination of many factors, and the obstruction cannot be removed surgically.
For patients with severe and moderate sleep apnea, the sleep has created an effective method of treatment that addresses respiratory failure almost 100% of cases. This method is CPAP therapy, which is a daily ventilation during sleep.
With CPAP-therapy, the patient wears a special mask connected to a flexible hose with the device, and air under slight pressure is fed this into the mask, and from it – in the respiratory tract of the patient, which straightened and cease to subside. Modern devices adapt to breathing and change the magnitude of the therapeutic pressure depending on the phase of breathing (inhale, exhale, the end-expiratory phase). They increase the flow of air during periods of respiratory pauses, and to overcome them and to prevent oxygen starvation in humans.
In Central sleep apnea the same as in obstructive, widely applied CPAP-therapy, and in addition, adaptive power cooling, BIPAP-therapy and TRIPP-therapy. The basis of all methods of treatment is mechanical ventilation with devices generating an air flow in the mask at a certain pressure.
Sleep Apnea Prevention
It is well known that obstructive sleep apnea during sleep occurs only under certain conditions. Affecting these conditions and eliminating risk factors can prevent the development of sleep apnea in the future. That is why the first recommendations for the prevention of sleep apnea syndrome are quitting Smoking, stopping alcohol abuse, hypnotics and sedatives, normalization of weight (diet, physical activity).
A quarter of patients with sleep apnea revealed nasal congestion caused by allergies, and many violation of nasal breathing related to the deviated septum and adenoids (the main cause of sleep apnea in children!). Treatment of the underlying disease helps to prevent pauses in breathing during sleep.
Malformations of the skull, especially hypoplasia, small mandible lead to the retraction of the tongue during sleep. Patients with similar problems, well help intraoral devices that push the jaw forward and open the airway.
To combat age-related changes of the pharynx that women are allowed to recommend the use of hormonal drugs (on prescription!)
All, without exception, patients with snoring and sleep apnea syndrome will be useful special exercises for the muscles of the pharynx and tongue. It can help to regain lost muscle tone and improve night breathing.
People suffering from snore, you can solve their problem radically, resorting to surgery.
To improve the function of breathing during a Central sleep apnea should be possible to eliminate the reasons causing it, for example, to adjust the treatment of heart failure.
In any case, to work out the correct tactics of treatment of sleep apnea, it is necessary to diagnose sleep apnea and what risk factors exist in a particular patient.