Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder, defined by an average of 10 failed air intakes per hour during sleep. The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) caused by an obstruction of the airways when the muscle tone relaxes during sleep. Soft tissue in the airway collapses and together with e.g. a big heavy, enlarged soft gummy and excess fat in the neck presses the airway and blocks it.
Only 4% of people with sleep apnea suffer from central sleep apnea (CSA) caused by the brain, which gives insufficient signal to the muscles to initiate respiratory movement. Both forms are considered to be a serious medical condition that needs treatment as soon as possible. The reason for this is the common complications that are caused by it:
When the oxygen level of the blood suddenly drops during an apnea, blood pressure increases (trying to compensate for the drop). It can be a huge strain on the cardiovascular system. OSA increases the risk of high blood pressure by two or three times. The more difficult sleep apnea, the higher the risk of high blood pressure. Regardless of the presence of high blood pressure, sleep apnea greatly increases the risk of stroke.
With a state of heart disease, the frequent blood oxygenation (hypoxia or hypoxemia) can lead to heart failure and sudden death. In several studies, the relationship between OSA / CSA and increased risk of atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure and other vascular diseases has been shown. And the OSA is closely linked to heart disease and in most cases it is at least a contributing factor. CSA in contrast is more often the result of an existing heart disease.
Sleep apnea leads to repeated zombies and an overall founder sleep during the night, which does not allow a restful sleep. It is no surprise that this leads to extensive daytime labor and lack of concentration. It also leads to mood and irritation because of this overall fatigue. Fatigue is often present during driving (which means another serious risk) or when concentrating on (school) work (which ultimately results in poorer performance at school or at work). People with OSA or CSA may also complain of memory problems, morning headaches, mood swings or feelings of depression.
Patients with OSA may be more prone to having complications after surgery because they are likely to have breathing difficulties when they sit and lie on their backs. Even recovery after surgery is cured by breathing difficulties with sleeping aids. Undiagnosed sleep apnea is a major risk of surgery. In case of diagnosis of OSA / CSA, it must be discussed with the doctor prior to surgery.
Everyone who snores will experience this at some point. People in the same room are usually disturbed by the sounds and do not get enough sleep themselves. This can actually disturb a relationship over time to a point where partners can not sleep in the same room anymore.
When oxygen levels decrease and carbon dioxide increases, blood is acidic, heart rate drops and cardiovascular contract. The body signals that there is a problem for the brain and the patient wakes up. At heart the heart rate is very high and the heart signals excess fluid. This is done by a protein that does not know better than telling the body to get rid of sodium and water.
Due to recent studies, there is a clear link between ED and sleep apnea. Initially, it was thought to be a result of oxygen deprivation during the night that damages the cardiovascular system. Earlier studies also indicate that the erections men naturally have under deep REM sleep help to maintain erectile function. OSA / CSA in most cases prevents increased REM steps. However, ED is also often present in obese men and obesity is the single most important risk factor for OSA.
A recent study has shown a strong link between obstructive sleep apnea and acid reflux. Nearly 50% of patients with OSA experienced GERD. With these symptoms that were especially worse at night, doctors suggested that the back of stomach acid in GERD may cause spasms of the vowel band (larynx), block airflow to the lungs and cause apnea. So far, there is no clear evidence that OSA is treated through a cure for acid reflux. On the other hand, the apnea may cause pressure changes in the throat and respiratory tract which trigger GERD. Like ED, GERD is often associated with obesity, which often causes OSA. It is therefore not clear whether a direct connection is actually present.