Snoring is a very common symptom and can appear in children and adults favoured by posture or inflammation of the airways. It can be temporary, occasional or permanent, but it does not cause any alteration other than acoustics for the patient and their environment.
On the contrary, in apnea, the main clinical-pathological picture is the so-called sleep apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) which is characterized by periodic interruptions of breathing during sleep, of variable duration, between 10-15 seconds that appears during snoring and is interrupted by a sudden resumption of breathing. Sleep apnea occurs four times more frequently in men than in women, it also affects children, although its origin is different and since its existence is little known, since it affects the privacy of the patient its repercussions on well-being and health are of great importance.
Different Types Of Apnea
Apnea is the most striking and practically omnipresent symptom among sleep-disordered breathing. There are four different types of apnea: obstructive apnea, by far the most common, central apnea characterized by the absence of ventilatory effort, mixed apnea, and increased resistance of the upper airways.
Profile Of The Snorer With Sleep Apnea
Each snorer is a world, although, generally, they are male snorers of a lifetime, in whom little by little and from middle age they begin to present nocturnal respiratory pauses, which are increasing. A small jaw, hypertrophic tonsils and adenoids, and especially increased flaccidity or a lack of muscle tone in the pharyngeal muscles and the musculature of the soft palate, favours the appearance of this pathology. Smoking and alcohol always aggravate the picture.
Why Is It Produced?
The muscles of the nasopharynx and oropharynx are flaccid, and their mobility is altered and decreased, they tire easily, and this causes a fall of the soft palate and therefore a momentary obstruction of the upper airways.
Impact On Health
Fatigue and the feeling of tiredness when waking up, general loss of quality of life, daytime irritability, inattention and concentration, and drowsiness can lead to functional alterations with increased blood pressure and heart rhythm disorders.
How To Prevent Sleep Apnea
There are several ways:
- Obesity is an aggravating and triggering factor.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Do not take tranquilisers or sleep inducers.
- If you are a smoker, you have to give up tobacco.
- Maintain good oral health.
- Exercises to strengthen the pharyngeal muscles and respiratory physiotherapy are beneficial.
As the symptom of respiratory arrest is not perceived by the person who suffers them, although its subsequent daytime effects are, the information and the suspected diagnosis is made through other people who have slept with the patient.
To make a correct clinical diagnosis, it is usually necessary to enter a Sleep Unit and spend the night with the performance during sleep of a test known as polysomnography with pulse oximetry, during which the stops, their duration, intensity, repercussions on oxygenation of the blood and other parameters.
Consequences Of Nocturnal Snoring And Apnea Breaks
As I said, it affects the quality of life and produces:
- Morning dry mouth
- Fatigue and Apathy.
- Daytime sleepiness
- Attention and concentration deficit.
What To Do In Each Case
There are different applicable treatments in relation to the intensity of the process. The most frequent, and which should be used initially, are those conservative in which the use of different mechanisms or devices that provide air during sleep solves the problem. If these were not effective, there are radiofrequency surgical methods that can be decisive.
- Nocturnal mechanical ventilation. Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) consists of the application of an artificial respirator during sleep that keeps the pharyngeal muscles open, maintaining a normal respiratory rhythm. The patient must sleep with a mask through which a compressor supplies air at a higher pressure than the ambient pressure.
- Radio frequency surgery. It consists of the surgical reduction of the uvula and the soft palate with a radiofrequency scalpel.