Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a risk factor for the development of life-threatening complications of the cardiovascular system, such as stroke, various arrhythmias, cardiac trophic disturbances – heart attacks, as well as sudden death during sleep. Most of these conditions occur at night, in the period from 3 to 4 in the morning, and more than 80% of them are directly related to respiratory failure.
Important! Do not ignore the problem, and in time to contact a specialist for diagnosis and proper treatment.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition characterized by periodic stops in breathing during sleep. It is interesting to know that a person can normally stop breathing for a while, but such pauses have absolutely no effect on the state of the body.
A pathological condition is considered to be when the apnea period lasts more than 10 seconds and occurs more often 30 times during a seven-hour sleep. The average duration of respiratory pauses is about 40 seconds, but in severe cases it can reach 3 minutes and take up more than 60% of sleep.
During apnea, a person balances on the edge between sleep and wakefulness; he cannot fall into a deep sleep, but constantly dormant, as it were. As a result, the body’s resources are not restored, the nervous system does not rest.
As a result, in the morning the patient wakes up broken, not sleeping, the productivity of his work is significantly reduced. Over time, this condition leads to the exacerbation of chronic and the development of new diseases of various organs and systems.
Why do pathological respiratory arrests occur in a dream?
In order to prescribe the correct therapy to the doctor, first of all, it is necessary to determine the reason for which respiratory arrest occurs. There are a number of anatomical and physiological features that can provoke this pathological condition:
- Too wide neck due to obesity. In cases where the neck is broad from the moment of birth, this cannot cause apnea;
- Anomalies of the skull
- Retrognathia – protruding lower jaw;
- Micrognathia is a pathology characterized by underdevelopment of the lower jaw;
- The narrowness of the upper go more jaws;
- Too big a tongue that does not normally fit in your mouth;
- Enlarged tonsils or swelling of the sky.
- Hypotension of the muscles, that is, their weakness, which are located near the respiratory system.
- Defects of the nasal septum.
- The presence of polyps or other formations in the respiratory tract.
- Obstructive pulmonary pathology.
In addition, some diseases, such as obesity or diabetes mellitus, may precede the appearance of apnea.
Attention! Another interesting condition that can occur when falling asleep is sleepy paralysis or old witch syndrome.
In addition to the direct causes of obstructive apnea, there are risk factors that do not guarantee the development of pathology, but significantly increase the risk of its occurrence:
- Gender – respiratory arrest occurs more often in the male half of the population. This is due to the fact that men generally weigh more than women, and their necks are much thicker. However, everything changes with age, with the onset of menopause, women become more vulnerable.
- Age – the peak of the incidence occurs in the period from 40 to 60 years, but this does not prevent apnea from appearing in both a later and a later period of a person’s life.
- Genetics – if close relatives have OSAS in the history, then the patient has a high risk of becoming ill.
- Abuse of tobacco and alcohol.
Important! Watch for body weight, because obesity is the main factor in the development of obstructive sleep apnea.
How can you suspect apnea
The grounds for the appearance of suspicions about the presence of OSA may be complaints of restless sleep, lack of feeling of cheerfulness after a normal for the duration of rest, morning headaches, constant fatigue.
In addition, the efficiency of the patient is significantly reduced, attention and the ability to concentrate on something are reduced. Such patients are scattered, they constantly forget something. They also have an increased tendency to fall asleep, that is, to fall asleep in the workplace, in a boring lecture or even driving a car is a common thing for people with obstructive sleep apnea.
In addition to the above, patients may make the following complaints:
- Feeling of suffocation at night;
- Frequent nightmares that lead to awakening;
- Increased irritability, it becomes difficult for such people to control their emotions;
- Depression – some patients become depressed due to constant lack of sleep;
- Nocturia – the need for frequent visits to the toilet at night;
- Impotence in men and a significant decrease in libido in women;
- Strong night sweats;
- Bruxism – gnashing of teeth;
- Increased activity in a dream – a person constantly turns over on his side, shudders, moves his arms and legs;
- Talk in a dream.
Relatives or just close people focus attention on strong snoring, sometimes they also notice the cessation of breathing during sleep. The patient himself is not able to see these changes.
Symptoms of OSA in children
In children, sleep problems due to respiratory arrest are somewhat different than in adults. Most often there are such manifestations:
- Longer sleep – children, especially with severe OSAS, take much longer to sleep;
- Difficult breath – from the child it takes a lot of effort to fill the lungs with oxygen;
- Changes in behavior – the baby becomes somewhat aggressive and, despite fatigue, hyperactive;
- Involuntary urination;
- Abnormal growth and weight;
- Morning headaches.
Important! These symptoms are non-specific, that is, they can occur not only in obstructive sleep apnea, but also in other diseases. Therefore, when these symptoms appear, the child should be shown to a specialist.
Diagnosis of OSA
The diagnosis is based on the patient’s complaints and the main objective examination. But since the symptoms of apnea are not characteristic and often do not practically manifest themselves, doctors resort to such a diagnostic method as polysomnography.
Polysomnography is a long procedure, its duration is approximately 8 hours. With the help of various devices, experts examine the patient’s sleep throughout the night. The diagnostic method consists in registration of a vital indicator, brain waves, respiratory arrest, their duration. According to polysomnography, the final diagnosis is set.
How to get rid of apnea
In light, not running cases, it is enough to follow simple recommendations so that apnea retreats:
- To lose weight – you need to follow a special diet and lead an active lifestyle.
- Stop eating before bedtime. From the last meal should pass more than 3 hours.
- Stop smoking and drink alcohol. If it is impossible to fully do this, then at least not to take cigarettes in your hands for 2-3 hours before bedtime, and in the daytime to reduce their number to a minimum.
- To occupy the correct position in a bed during rest. Most often, breathing stops occur in people who sleep on their backs, so you need to learn how to rest on your side. If a person in a dream constantly turns on his back, then on the nightgown behind you need to sew a pocket and put some object into it. Thus, lying on your back will be uncomfortable. In the first few nights the patient will constantly wake up, he will be uncomfortable, but within 2 weeks he will get used to sleep on his side.
- Ensure that nasal breathing is free. For this purpose, you can use special plates or patches.
But for some patients, unfortunately, the above is not enough. For example, if there are defects in the septum and in the presence of polyps, it is imperative that surgery be performed, since there are no other ways to help. Patients in whom apnea arises due to an abnormally developed jaw may use special devices that are inserted into the oral cavity and adjust the position of the jaw during sleep.
Often, when OSA use assisted ventilation. With the aid of the apparatus, oxygen is injected into the airways and prevents them from narrowing. Unfortunately, this method does not lead to recovery, but only allows a person to sleep properly and avoid complications.
Important! In no case with obstructive sleep apnea can not use sleeping pills, because they relax the muscles, and a person can simply suffocate.
Sleep apnea can lead to serious consequences, so do not neglect the symptoms, thinking that this is just snoring. With timely diagnosis, pathology is easily treatable, in most cases even without surgery.