Excessive snoring or sleep apnea?

Excessive snoring or sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea syndrome, which can be mistaken for excessive snoring and underestimated because it is not diagnosed, can be detected by testing in the laboratory during sleep. This disorder, which is defined as respiratory standstill during sleep, manifests itself with symptoms such as excessive snoring and waking up tired.

Sleep, which constitutes an average of one third of human life, is of great importance for a healthy life. Not being able to sleep well at night and starting the next day badly, clutter and drowsiness during the day, snoring, turning your relatives' night sleep into a nightmare, indicates a serious health problem that can lead to apnea syndrome. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS), defined as snoring and respiratory arrest at sleep is seen in 50 percent of men, 25 percent of women and 10 percent of children. Between 10 and 30 percent of adults suffer from severe snoring that does not cause serious health problems, but it is necessary to use certain methods to diagnose how much of it is OSAS.

More than a snoring problem

Sleep apnea can lead to severe snoring and waking up from sleep.
Sleep apnea can lead to severe snoring and waking up from sleep.

Sleep apnea syndrome is defined as obstruction of the airways and inability to breathe for at least 10 seconds. As the relaxation of the muscles in the upper respiratory tract increases and as the tongue root, soft palate or overgrown tonsils clog the airway, it gets more difficult to breathe. In this case, the brain increases breathing effort, recognizes the difficulty in breathing, the blood oxygen level decreases, oxygen deficiency causes the patient to wake up and this level gets back to normal only after the patient wakes up.

For this reason, sleep apnea causes severe snoring and waking up from sleep. During night, the patient wakes up unintentionally 100 times and falls back to sleep.

In addition to excessive snoring during sleep, drowsiness during the daytime, fatigue, headache in the morning, nausea, sexual reluctance, frequent urination at night occur. In case of inability to wake up might cause blood pressure increases, heart rhythm deterioration, paralysis or even sudden death.

More common in men and patients with hypertension

The muscles in the throat relax due to excess weight, large tonsils or large nasal flesh, or the upper respiratory tract as a result of childhood wear. For this reason, this disease is more common in obese people with short and thick neck, depending on genetic factors, it can also be seen even in thin people because of the jaw and throat structure.

This disease is more common in men than in women; It can accompany diabetes, thyroid gland and cardiovascular disorders. Although the incidence of sleep apnea increases with age, 30-50 percent of patients with sleep apnea syndrome have hypertension though it is not considered as the exact cause of the disease.

If sleep apnea syndrome, which can cause concentration problems and respiratory failure in lung patients, is not diagnosed and treated, the risk of car accident and occupational accidents may increase by seven to eight times. It is necessary to determine whether the symptoms of snoring and waking up from sleep are caused by sleep apnea syndrome.

Diagnosis by monitoring night's sleep

One of the most commonly used methods in the diagnosis of sleep apnea syndrome is polysomnography. After listening to the patient's history, complaints and airway assessment, metabolic risk factors are determined and if necessary, the patient is referred to the sleep laboratory by a doctor.

During the test performed in the sleep room, the signals received through cables connected to various points of the body are transferred to the computer outside the room. Polysomnography, which records brain activity and respiratory events during the night, measures brain waves, eye movements, mouth and nose airflow, snoring, heart rate, leg movements and oxygen levels. In this way, the details of how many times the breathing stops during night, how the oxygen values and heart rate are affected when it stops and whether or not to fall asleep are determined. As a result of the sleep test, the diagnosis of the disease is made by the pathological level of respiratory disorder scores during night sleep.

Device treatment to improve life quality

In the treatment of severe sleep apnea, positive air pressure (CPAP) treatment is applied.
In the treatment of severe sleep apnea, positive air pressure (CPAP) treatment is applied.

It is possible to avoid sleep apnea syndrome by taking precautions and to overcome this disease. If the patient has obesity and sleep apnea syndrome, the weight problem should be solved first. The necessity of surgical intervention is discussed if the disease occurs due to stenosis in the upper respiratory tract.

In the treatment of severe sleep apnea, positive air pressure (CPAP) treatment is applied. These devices, which provide compressed air through night with a silicone mask that fits tightly to the face, seem uncomfortable to the patient, but the positive effect of the treatment makes it easier for patients to accept the device. There are different types of these devices that keep the upper airways open during sleep. Which CPAP device is suitable for the patient can be determined by spending a second night in the sleep laboratory.

Among the patients who have difficulty in using the CPAP device, the lower jaw can be brought forward with an intraoral device to prevent the tongue from falling back and obstructing the upper respiratory tract. Sprays or elastic bands that reduce snoring are not sufficient to treat sleep apnea. It is possible overcome the disease at the rate of 50 percent by losing the excess weight which is among the risk factors. Not consuming alcohol and sleeping medicines, quitting smoking and lying on your back are among the measures that reduce the discomfort.