Sleep apnea: breathing interruptions during sleep

21 October 2017

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Who is the day extremely tired, maybe sleep apnea: Its consequences range from occasional complaints and nodding at undemanding activities to extreme drowsiness and inability to work.

In many cases, sleep apnea is in the long run, a risk to the cardiovascular system. Therefore, it is advisable to do something about it.

Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder. Based sleep means that the fault occurs only or mainly when sleeping.

It is characteristic of sleep apnea that Breathing during sleep exposes again (Apnea = respiratory arrest). the designation apnea is derived from the Greek word ápnoia that breathlessness means. The sleep disorder is characterized by two criteria defined:

Pauses in breathing during sleep onset and in REM sleep (REM = Rapid Eye Movement) include Not this, as they are quite common and not unusual. Even up to five breathing pauses per hour do not have a morbid sleep out but are considered normal.

Sleep apnea prevents a healthy, restful sleep. Because if the breathing is reduced or completely disappears, the oxygen decreases and the carbon dioxide content rises. The latter - the so-called hypercapnia - dissolves in the body an alarm: It comes to arousal, ending the breathing interruptions. Even if the person concerned them unaware wake up, sleep is disturbed.

Accordingly, the sleep apnea is one of the sleep disorders.

Most people with sleep apnea snore heavily. Cause for the repeated breathing pauses during sleep is then typically a Blocking (or obstruction) of the airways. According say this form of sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).

The respiratory muscles will continue to operate without interruption in obstructive sleep apnea. But the pharyngeal muscles relaxed during sleep, so by inhalation creates a vacuum, which narrows the airways. The consequences are a lack of oxygen (O2) with an increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) with significantly slower heart rate. The CO2 increase (so-called. Hypercapnia) causes

If discovered during sleep now and no breathing movements, which speaks for a central sleep apnea syndrome (ZSAS). Here is the respiratory drive - and thus the respiratory muscles - again and again, because the Respiratory regulation disturbed is.

Cause of the central sleep apnea is a Disorder of the respiratory center in the brain. If the respiratory muscles thereby temporarily inoperable, which also leads to a lack of oxygen with carbon dioxide rise and about triggers an arousal from.

The central sleep apnea occurs for example in the Cheyne-Stokes respiration before: This is a particular form of periodic breathing in which those affected alternately faster and deeper and then breathe slower and shallower until it comes to breathing interruptions. Men are affected more often than women. Possible causes are:

two main symptoms are typical of sleep apnea:

In addition, a sleep apnea many other symptoms cause, such as:

Depending on how severe the symptoms are pronounced, share medical sleep apnea in the following severity on:

In sleep apnea, the patient's complaints already be together with the observations of a third person (for example, to apnea or snoring) usually a first diagnosis.

The medical history, the doctor using standardized questionnaires query. It and by physical examination can also clarify whether there are indications for concomitant diseases typical of sleep apnea are present (e.g., for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure or COPD).

To confirm the diagnosis, is a blood test useful: in longer existing sleep apnea an increase in the red blood cells can be detected, which is caused by the nightly lack of oxygen. , A so-called blood gas analysis also shows that the oxygen content of the blood is reduced at the same time an increased carbon dioxide content.

A study in sleep-laboratory can show whether it is obstructive or central sleep apnea form or whether (yet) there are other sleep disorders. For this purpose you spend the night in a sleeping cabin, where so-called during sleep in a polysomnography The following parameters are recorded:

In sleep apnea, the therapy aims to normalize breathing during sleep. Chances are that you will come to this goal through the following measures already one step closer:

Remains the sleep apnea despite these measures unchanged, recommended a nocturnal non-invasive ventilation with a respiratory therapy device. The device generates using a blower a overprint and transmits this via a tube and a mask (nasal or full-face mask) to your respiratory tract. this so-called Positive pressure ventilation is to keep your airway open during sleep and avoid pauses in breathing and snoring.

The ventilation therapy is with any form of sleep apnea helpful - no matter which the pauses in breathing during sleep caused. However, this therapy is only useful if you:

but the modern devices are small, light and flexible that most people cope well with the treatment. There are several systems available - most often occurs in sleep apnea, Positive pressure ventilation with continuous positive airway pressure (Engl. Continuous positive airway pressure, CPAP) for use. So CPAP machines work with a pressure which is equal inhalation and exhalation.

respiratory therapy in a controlled environment is important in a sleep-laboratory with medical aid to be exactly you. You also receive a customized CPAP mask and learn how to deal with CPAP machine and mask. If this is done, you may expect that the sleep apnea and significantly improve the problems associated with it on the day.

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A CPAP treatment acts not only against the sleep apnea itself, but also reduces the impact risk significantly.

The cause of sleep apnea persists here, however: the ventilation therapy is only effective symptomatic. This means that they permanently needed is. In some cases, they can side effects lead, but usually harmless and easily treatable are: For example, if your nose or throat mucous membranes dry out too much, this can be remedied by an ointment or a heated humidifier, you can connect to your breathing system.

If you do not cope with the respiratory therapy or only have a lighter sleep, you can also at the dentist so-called snoring rail (or. mandibularcan be adapted). The rail prevents your lower jaw slides and sleeping back your throat constricts. This can reduce your breathing stops and the snoring while sleeping.

Is sleep apnea due to a treatable underlying disease or a mechanical obstruction in the upper respiratory tract, it is advisable in any case, specifically to take action against it. So you can surgically remove example, enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

The right treatment However, not only the sleep apnea, but all the symptoms caused by them remove, whereby the consequential risks also fall significantly.

prevent sleep apnea is primarily to avoid any factors or off, which increase the risk of breathing interruptions during sleep.

The main risk factor for sleep apnea is very overweight (obesity): About 80 percent of people who work in repeated during sleep suspends breathing, are overweight. The most important preventive measure therefore: avoid being overweight or lose weight! For this purpose, it is advisable to pay attention to a balanced diet and take regular exercise sufficient.


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