Apnee Notturne: what are they?
For some time now, on the pages of the most important newspapers and the most popular magazines, we talk about sleep apnea , OSAS , and hypersomnia . On widely visited blogs and on medical and health sites there is also talk of problems for the license for those suffering from sleep. But what are these strange situations?
These are essentially interruptions of normal breathing (apnea means not breathing, like when you dive underwater) lasting a few seconds up to 30/40, completely unintentional(they happen during sleep, so normally during the night) . They can be sporadic or very numerous, in sequence, even 50/60 per hour, always followed by semi-alarms (arousal) and sometimes by noisy inspirations and disordered movements that can also frighten those who observe them or are woken up (bed partner or children ). One thing must be stated immediately: it is not about diseases or, better, it is not about pathological situations that must be treated with drugs or health treatments. Instead, they are direct or indirect risk factorsvery important and totally neglected. Neglected because until a few years ago they were not studied except in very special cases.
Everything starts from observation, obvious as long as you want, but not for this less important, that sleep constitutes a third of the life of every human being, even for inveterate night owls.
Causes of nocturnal apnea
The nocturnal apneas are mainly due to obstruction of the first airways (pharynx, larynx) caused, especially in a supine position from the fall of the tongue to the bottom of the throat: the most affected are the overweight or obese subjects or with conformations of the neck or particular jaw, but it can interest everyone, even children. Snoring is the typical sign that leads the person to the doctor, but often at the insistence of the family, disturbed by this noisy attitude.
Symptoms and consequence of nocturnal apnea
It is understandable that this phenomenon determines over the years of the imbalances at the level of the complicated mechanisms of regulation of heartbeat, blood pressure and other complex metabolic processes. Difficulties to awaken, to concentrate, irritability are the most frequent and almost always underestimated signals of a poor quality of sleep. The most immediate and disturbing consequence is the disappearance of the benefits of sleep on our daily lives and on those of those who live with us. But there are much more important signs of the poor quality of our sleep: the most important is certainly daytime hypersomnia, which, in particular for those who perform dangerous activities or are driving many hours during the day, is a serious danger to themselves and others. For this reason, since the beginning of this year it is mandatory for those who suffer from this disorder to report it during a license renewal.
However, there are many other pathological situations that find in the poor quality of sleep due to nocturnal apnea (OSAS) one of the main causes: arterial hypertension, especially in younger people and resistant to treatment, the overweight that is not resolved with diets.
In children in particular, the signs that must lead to an assessment are: poor growth, hyperactivism, poor inexplicable academic performance and, of course, snoring for them.
Diagnosis of Night Apnea
What to do when you think you have this problem? First of all talk to your doctor, who if you think it will prescribe a polysomnography (a test that can also be carried out at home that records all the events that happen to our body during sleep, even the positions).
In case of positive examination it is necessary to contact specialized centers in this field in order to be informed in detail about the pathology, have the possibility to evaluate together with the specialist doctor the most suitable remedies to our person ranging from “simple” weight loss use of equipment called CPAP that completely eliminate the problem by blowing air in the airways in a very simple way up to even the palate’s surgery.
Advice for a good quality of sleep
The important thing is to turn to serious and tested centers and that are able in a short time to accompany the patient along the entire diagnostic / therapeutic itinerary without interruption and in the same capacity and ensure the control over time of any equipment and the clinical problem, be it pneumological, cardiological, metabolic or ENT.
During my clinical activity, both for children and adults, I verified that solving the problem of sleep quality of life improves clearly , often to the great surprise of the patient and family members, so here’s why the first step to get to enjoy this feeling of well-being is to think about it. Obvious but still very but very infrequent.