Basic concepts about Sleep Apnea

Basic concepts about Sleep Apnea


There are plenty of articles about Sleep Apnea and lot of information related to it on the Internet. Let’s make it crystal clear what it is, what are the symptoms, consequences and solutions to this disease.

The Spanish Society of Respiratory Disease (SSRD) defines OSAHS as being a disease “characterized by drowsiness, and associated with neuropsychiatric and cardiopulmonary side effects arising from anatomical and/or functional alterations to the upper airway. These alterations lead to repeated episodes of the upper airway obstruction causing a decline in the oxygen saturation levels and transient awakenings causing restless sleep”. All this sounds very scientific but to put it in a more understandable way, it is basically the inability to breathe during night because of the obstruction in the upper airway caused by anatomical alternations.

There are three basic types of Obstructive Sleep Apnea: mild (10-20 apneas per hour), moderate (20-30 apneas per hour) and severe (30 and more apneas per hour). These data, of course, vary depending on the literature.

It is obvious that having sleeping problems is bad. To have obstructive sleep apnea is even worse. And it all starts with snoring. It seems harmless but we shouldn’t underestimate the amount of snoring. If you feel like you haven’t slept enough during night and as the consequence you feel tired during day, it can be a first warning. What we would like to highlight is that the health is one of the most important things in our lives, if not the only one. We have to take care of ourselves by making a lot of exercises, keeping our everyday diet balanced and avoid smoking. A sound mind in a sound body.  If we take care of our body well enough during day, it will repay us with a healthy sleep. As humans and other mammals, we wouldn’t survive without sleeping. Any type of medicine cannot substitute sleep. Therefore the importance of good and healthy sleep is essential.

There are several types of solutions for this problem. General advice is to lose weight and change a lifestyle. However, sleep apnea can affect also people who don’t have overweight problems. If losing weight doesn’t help, you should seek a professional advice which can be a surgery (in the most serious cases), using pressure masks or intraoral devices that are the most recommendable and preferred ones because of their comfort and easy use. However, it all depends on the seriousness of each case and patient himself.

We should bear in mind there is a 5 % of the world population suffering from sleep apnea which is not a small number. Fortunately, above mentioned solutions exist to treat those patients.

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