The presence of an intense and choppy snoring is often a reason for joking or mocking comment among family members, friends or acquaintances of the snorer. In the same way, the person who has sleepiness or falls asleep during the day can be accused of “lack of interest” for what surrounds him, clueless or even lazy. This problem is known as Sleep apnea.
It is a disease whose prevalence increases with age and with the rate of muscle mass. It occurs more in men than in women and is worse in patients who smoke or consume alcohol.
Why does apnea occur?
There is an intermittent collapse of the upper airway, which prevents the air from passing, causing a lack of oxygen flow for a few seconds. Then, the brain is alerted by this descent, producing numerous interruptions of sleep throughout the night.
This phenomenon is caused by morphological anomalies or by greater relaxation of the muscles in this area.
This deficiency of oxygen generates a series of symptoms such as hyper somnolence, generalized fatigue, depression, etc. In general, it even increases the risk of suffering from certain diseases such as: hypertension, heart attack, diabetes
Signs and symptoms of apnea
- Snoring is the most frequent symptom of apnea, there may be pauses between one and the other and being stronger when you sleep on your back than on your side. It is important not to be alarmed with this information, since not all people who snore have sleep apnea.
- Another frequent symptom is to feel very sleepy during the day, at work, when driving a car and in general, in daily tasks that do not require physical effort.
- Finally, there are other less frequent symptoms that are associated with this disease, such as: dryness in the throat at night, headaches in the morning, memory problems or difficulty in concentration, mood changes, among others.
How to treat Sleep apnea
If we have mild sleep apnea, it is possible that the only treatment we need is to make changes in daily activities or habits. Among them:
- Avoid alcohol and medicines that produce sleep.
- Lose weight, if we are overweight or obese.
- Keep the nasal passages clear at night with nasal sprays and improve nasal breathing. Try to breathe through the nose and not through the mouth.
- Avoid smoking.
- Keep the room humid.
- Be attentive to our food. Studies have shown that there is a high percentage in people with apnea who follow a diet rich in cholesterol and saturated fat that clogs the arteries.
- And a very important aspect is related to how to sleep. Sleeping on your side instead of sleeping on your back to keep your throat clear is paramount.
There are also on the market special pillows, also called anti-snoring pillows, which by their shape help us to maintain a posture in the bed that facilitates the airways are open and the person does not snore during sleep. These pillows keep the head and neck connected and vertical.