The sleep apnea syndrome (SAHS) is characterized mainly by the presence of snoring, respiratory pauses, interruptions of sleep with choking sensation and excessive ease to fall asleep during the day or daytime hypersomnia. Irritability, lack of attention or memory and sexual impotence are other less frequent symptoms.

With the studies performed it is estimated that in Spain occurs to 5% of men, 3% of women and almost 2% of children. Currently, only 10% of Spanish patients are diagnosed and treated, making this syndrome a real public health problem.

Learn about snore relief mouthpiece

Sleep apnea syndrome occurs because the soft tissues of the neck collapse at intervals during sleep and close the air passage. The person stops breathing or significantly decreases their breathing for periods of more than 10 seconds repeatedly during sleep. Stopping breathing reduces the level of oxygen in the blood which causes a big inspiration (shock) and a sleep interruption without fully waking up. The decrease in blood oxygen and sleep fragmentation are the causes of the most important effects of apnea syndrome; (Hypertension, cerebral infarction, arrhythmias and heart failure) due to the first and excessive daytime sleepiness and reduced neurocognitive functioning by the second.

Beware of snorings effects on impotency

The diagnosis is made by nighttime evaluation of sleep patterns and respiration (Polysomnography). Information is obtained on the structure of sleep, on breathing and on the amount of air that is inspired as well as the monitoring of oxygen in the blood.

All patients are advised to adopt general measures:

  • Lose weight
  • No Smoking
  • Avoid lying face up memory in bed
  • Reduce the consumption of alcohol (especially 4 hours before bed) and drugs that favor the appearance of apneas (sedatives, hypnotics and muscle relaxants)

Adopt healthy habits that support good sleep hygiene

If the severity of the condition requires it, Sleep Apnea is treated by supplying a current of air that exerts a positive pressure on the airways and prevents them from closing during sleep. This comfortable and efficient treatment is called CPAP and consists of a small and quiet air compressor that connects to the airway through a mask placed over the nose. In this way, the affected patient does not snore; their breathing becomes regular, they notice how sleep is more effective and, above all, they become more alert and active during the day.

In some cases, duly selected, another option of treatment is the surgery of the otorhinolaryngological (nose and pharynx) sphere or the use of intraoral devices (prostheses) that have an effect on the advancement of the mandible. The remaining treatments that are sold are not scientifically proven neither for snoring nor apnea.

As a summary we recommend that if you snore, tell you that you take a breath while you sleep, get up tired or have excessive sleepiness during the day, go to your primary care physician who will start the relevant study to reach a diagnosis and treatment.
That sleeping poorly, as we have explained, can have serious consequences for your health.