Obstructive sleep apnea (often called sleep apnea or just apnea) is a disorder characterized by interrupted breathing during while sleeping, interruptions lasting 10 to 20 seconds and go unnoticed (the patient does not know who has stopped breathing). What are the consequences of obstructive sleep apnea? What causes it? Read on to find out.
Consequences of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Although as we said, the patient is not aware of your breathing, your night’s rest stops itself is affected. Consequently, the hours of sleep not rife much as they should and the patient wakes up still tired and sleepy.
The symptoms to discover if someone has apnea are:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Restless sleep
If left untreated, the consequences of sleep apnea increase in severity, can cause complications such as depression (bad break), heart disease (less transport oxygen while sleeping). However, sleepiness is the most serious problem, because it can lead to accidents.
Causes of obstructive sleep apnea
To understand the causes of sleep apnea you have to know that when we sleep every muscle in our body relax. That includes the muscles of the airways. Relaxation of such muscles causes a narrowing of the airways and consequently less air enters our lungs.
Nothing happens so, because the air continues to flow normally, although to a lesser flow. However, in patients with apnea they are narrowed airways that ultimately both momentarily interrupt the air flow. These people remain without breathing for a few seconds until a great inspiration restores the flow.
The muscles of the airways to relax enough to cause apnea may be due to several factors. The main ones are these:
- Excess fat in the neck and / or abdomen.
- Defects in the throat, mouth or jaw that narrowed airways. For example, having a too long palate or chin too small.
- Alcohol and / or smoking
- Large tonsils or adenoids demasiad: this is the main cause of apnea in children.
- Elderly (lose muscle tension).
- History of sleep apnea in the family (or some other sleep disorder).
Fortunately, obstructive sleep apnea can be treated. If due to obesity or consumption of alcohol and snuff enough to make changes in lifestyle. If structural changes are used to orthognathic surgery, an operation which tightens the throat of the patient to achieve greater airflow.