What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when breathing stops while we sleep. This is due to a collapse inside the pharynx caused by the involuntary closure of the muscular tissues in the upper part of the throat, causing a transient drop in the oxygen levels of the blood.
There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of suffering from this problem:
• Having large tonsils that can block the airways.
• Have a large tongue that can retract and thus block the airway.
• Have the lower jaw shorter than the upper one.
• Have a large neck.
• Certain shapes of the palate or airway that cause them to collapse.
• Suffer obesity.
What are the symptoms?
The main manifestation of apnea is snoring. In general, patients with this disorder usually begin to snore very loudly shortly after falling asleep. When apnea occurs, snoring is interrupted and a brief period of silence occurs, after which there is a loud snort as the patient tries to breathe again.
People with obstructive sleep apnea are often unaware of it, so it is almost always the partner who sounds the alarm when this pattern repeats frequently during the night.
Other symptoms that may appear in the patient are the following:
• Drowsiness during the day, which increases the risk of suffering from traffic or work accidents.
• Irritability, depression, decreased work performance.
• Increased risk of high blood pressure.
• Increased risk of angina pectoris or heart attack.
• Increased risk of stroke or stroke.
What treatment can be followed?
Once obstructive sleep apnea has been detected, the medical professional may choose to follow different treatments:
• Preventive treatments: to prevent apnea we must follow a series of guidelines that will help us breathe better at night. Losing weight and avoiding sleeping on your back are the most effective, but it's also important to avoid alcohol and tobacco.
• Surgical treatments: in severe cases, surgery may be chosen to correct problems in the airways that lead to apnea, although success in this type of intervention is not guaranteed.
• Treatment with positive air pressure or CPAP: it is the most used and recommended treatment, since it solves the problem in 90% of cases. It is a device that generates pressure and emits a stream of air that the patient receives through a mask while they sleep. This helps this person breathe normally during the night, so snoring and drowsiness disappear.
As always, our recommendation is that you go to the specialist for any symptoms. Better than anyone else, he will be able to evaluate your case and choose what type of treatment is the best for you.
Even though obesity and being overweight consists of carrying excess fat in several areas of your body, the midsection is the spot most associated with being overweight. Both men and women pack on excess abdominal fat as they gain weight, but it is men who seem most at risk when it comes to serious health issues brought on by extra abdominal fat.
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