What is sleep apnea and how to treat it

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleeping disorders. Patients who snore stop breathing (forgetting to breathe) at certain intervals, and after a while, with a loud snore, movements and even exertion of the whole body, they can breathe. Patient partners usually testify to these events because the patient himself does not remember it.

Due to all this, oxygen supply is also reduced, which can cause many problems, and in the worst case, even the ill death of the patient.

How often does it occur?

Every 20th person in the world suffers from sleep apnea. As many as 70 percent of snorers develop sleep apnea during their lifetime, according to Stetoskop.info.

According to recent studies, as many as one-third of motor vehicle drivers who fell asleep while driving and thus causing traffic accidents suffered from sleep apnea.

There is a risk of sleeping apnea in people who are obese, snore, use alcohol, antidepressants, sedatives, have nasal deviations and other changes, a certain form of the pharynx, but some associated diseases.

Age is irrelevant, and men are more likely to contract the disease.

Sleep apnea can even be present in children, but it is a consequence of enlargement of the third tonsil and is treated with tonsillectomy.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

  • Snoring
  • Sleep interruptions
  • Restless sleep
  • Feeling pressure on the chest
  • The need to sleep longer
  • Expressed sweating
  • In the morning they wake up tired, sweaty, inexplicably scared.
  • Drowsiness during the day (drivers can get behind the wheel)
  • Morning headaches are common
  • Lack of concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • Reduction of attention
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Sexual dysfunction.

The consequences of sleep apnea can be numerous: high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attack and heart failure, strokes, depression. All these patients have a poor quality of life.

Diagnosis of sleep apnea

The diagnosis is made using special apparatus that, similar to Holter, records the breathing process, respiratory movements, sleep stages, blood oxygen concentration, ECG, snoring intensity, as well as all other events during sleep. The method is called polysomnography, and the patient is connected to the apparatus at bedtime.

The patient is wearing a holter-like apparatus during sleep. In the morning, the findings are analyzed by examining the entire sleep process, and the findings show whether the patient has intermittent breathing, how many there are, and whether there is a fall in oxygen in sleep

By analyzing all these data, a diagnosis of sleep apnea is made, but the severity of the disease is also determined.


Depending on the type and severity of the disease, the disease can be treated in several ways. In most cases, the patient is advised to use a device that uses special masks in a sleep called CPAP, which “breathes in place of the patient” during the breaks in breathing. This therapy is long-lasting but very successful.

A number of cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea can also be treated surgically by otolaryngologists or maxillofacial surgeons. There are also special dentures, for the nose, jaw or tongue.

How to suspect that you suffer from sleep apnea?

  1. Has anyone told you or do you notice yourself snoring for most of the night?
  2. Do you snore loudly, hear it behind closed doors?
  3. Did anyone tell you or did you notice yourself ceasing to breathe or struggling to breathe in the air, sometimes with sudden, short breaths, or making sounds similar to croaking “?
  4. Are you tired, exhausted or drowsy during the day? Do you experience chronic fatigue?
  5. Do you unexpectedly fall asleep during the day?
  6. Is your dream refreshing and resting?
  7. Have you ever gotten behind the wheel?
  8. Do you suffer from heartburn or high blood pressure and do you take medication?
  9. Are you obese?
  10. Does anyone in the family have sleep apnea?
  11. Has anyone told you, or do you notice that you grit your teeth at night?
  12. Are you over 50?
  13. Is your neck larger than 40 cm?
  14. Are you a man?
  15. Is your weight greater than your ideal weight?

If you answered yes to three or more questions, you should consult your physician and perform a polysomnography.