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Sleep apnea: know what diseases are related to this problem

A good night’s sleep makes someone wake up much more ready for a new day, right? Not surprisingly, quality sleep is essential to restore the body’s functioning conditions, ensuring that it is protected from any metabolic and hormonal disorders. People who have sleep apnea suffer from  sleep problems.

Today, according to  information  from the Brazilian Sleep Association, one in three people in the country has this condition. Its predominance draws more attention among elderly men, especially those who have other diseases, such as hypertension.

To learn more about this disorder, continue reading our article below.

What is sleep apnea?

Known as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), it is a chronic disease in which individuals suffer from a condition in which the throat, obstructed, generates respiratory pauses of about ten seconds, the apneas, in which it needs wake up to allow air to pass into the lungs.

Thus, those who live with the disease get up several times during the night, which prevents them from having a deep sleep, capable of restoring their vital functions.

Falls and rapid resumption of blood oxygenation are, moreover, a risk factor for different heart and vascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart growth and atherosclerosis.

What are its causes and symptoms?

There are some risk factors that favor the development of sleep apnea, such as obesity – since it increases the amount of soft tissue in the throat, obstructing the air passage -, large tongue, presence of tonsils and small chin.

If the patient presents with symptoms such as snoring , excessive sleepiness during the day, waking up with the impression of suffocation and dry throat, the suspicion of apnea also increases.

How is the diagnosis made?

The diagnosis of sleep apnea is made based on the patient’s clinical history, plus physical examinations and polysomnography, a test that records sleep.

It is possible to monitor this rest activity using electronic equipment. In this way, the test generates data on the patient’s muscle, respiratory and brain activity while sleeping.

What are the risks of having sleep apnea?

When sleep is precarious, which also occurs in cases of insomnia, there may be reduced  memory , difficulty concentrating, drowsiness and indisposition during the day, decreased muscle mass gain, depression and body fat gain.

In addition, apnea increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, since it worsens cardiovascular diseases by exaggeratingly activating the autonomic nervous system. Another worrying factor is hypoxia, that is, the decrease in blood oxygenation, capable of leading to oxidative stress that leaves the kidneys more susceptible to problems such as insufficiency.

OSAS also undermines immunity, as it prevents the body from having restorative sleep and creates favorable conditions for the development of pneumonia. The situation is justified by the fact that the sudden resumption of breathing and oxygen makes it easier to suck up harmful particles, capable of infecting the lungs.

How is the treatment?

The treatment of sleep apnea depends on the stage it is in and other health conditions associated with it.

The main objective, common to all, is to keep the throat open and prevent falls in blood oxygenation.

Thus, the doctor can recommend the use of devices inside the mouth to increase air flow, speech therapy in order to strengthen the throat muscles, as well as simple measures, such as avoiding sleeping on your back.

Finally, it is worth remembering that, although sleep apnea can cause a lot of discomfort to its patients, once the treatment is diagnosed and initiated, it is possible to control the disorder and restore the quality of sleep and breathing without fear of the disease worsening or even having  stress  during the routine due to sleepless nights


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