Several symptoms are indicative of sleep apnea. Snoring, headaches, intense fatigue are among the most common. This pathology is manifested by involuntary cessation of breathing. These breathing pauses usually last 10 to 30 seconds. They can repeat themselves up to a hundred times a night. In severe cases, they occur up to more than 30 times per hour. This reduction or interruption of ventilation during sleep causes a lack of oxygen. The brain reacts and the person wakes up to catch their breath. Sleep apnea usually occurs in people who are overweight, elderly, or who snore heavily.
This syndrome concerns between 5 and 15% of the population, in particular overweight men over 40 years of age. To define a sleep apnea syndrome, it is considered that it is necessary to count more than 10 apneas of more than 10 seconds per hour of sleep. The effects on people with this condition can be particularly disabling on a daily basis. This sleep, which is less restorative, leads to a deterioration in the quality of life. In particular, there is chronic fatigue during the day and irritability. Sleep apnea syndrome leads to changes in heart rate and flare-ups of high blood pressure that can persist outside of sleep.
Determine the cause for better treatment
What are the causes ? In the majority of cases, apneas are due to a relaxation of the tongue and throat muscles. These are not tonic enough and block the passage of air during breathing. More rarely, apneas are due to a malfunction of the brain, which stops sending the “order” to breathe to the respiratory muscles. The vast majority of people with sleep apnea don’t know it. Most often, it is the spouse who notices the presence of apneas and snoring. It is advisable to consult a doctor in case of doubt. The latter can refer you to a center specializing in sleep studies. In this case, a test called polysomnography may be performed.
Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the severity of the symptoms and their causes. Continuous positive airway pressure night ventilation is the most common method. During the night, pressurized air is blown in using a mask placed on the nose. This forced ventilation keeps the airways open. If the cause of the apneas is related to an anatomical defect, surgical intervention may be necessary such as removal of the tonsils or the uvula, modification of the anatomy of the pharynx or even nasal surgery.