What is Sleep Apnea?
It is a disease that causes frequent shortness of breath during sleep. The disease is usually difficult to recognize and overlooked by everyone, but it can cause serious harm to health and life.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Excessive snoring during sleep is a major sign of Sleep Apnea and other symptoms include:
• Very sleepy during the day
• Headache and fatigue during the day
• Difficulty concentrating and forgetting
• Shortness of breath during sleep
• Frequent wakefulness during sleep and frequent urination, etc.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
The main cause of this condition is narrowing or obstruction of the upper respiratory tract, which is usually caused by obesity or enlargement of the amygdala in children. In addition, there are other reasons such as:
• Upper respiratory tract narrowing: chin and jaw narrow, neck short and large, tongue large …
• Deficiency encephalopathy
• Brain injury
• Have a brain tumor or brain damage
• Heart failure
• Lung disease
• Weakness of the chest muscles and chest muscles, etc.
Difficulties and dangers caused by Sleep Apnea
This shortness of breath causes a decrease in oxygen in the brain, which causes the patient to wake up often, not really falling asleep, not getting enough sleep, which can seriously affect health. Fatigue during the day, drowsiness and difficulty concentrating at work and can cause accidents while working.
If left untreated, this disease can cause:
• High blood pressure, heart, and arrhythmias
• Cerebrovascular disease
• Metabolic crisis
• Decreased libido
• And other health problems
The disease is diagnosed by applying a Polygraphy Machine to the patient overnight with the above-mentioned symptoms. This Polygraphy Machine allows us to know the number of times a patient suffocates per night, the severity of the disease and the level of hypoxia in order to get the right treatment.
The mainstay of treatment is the use of a CPAP machine at bedtime every night. It is a machine that provides positive pressure to open the airway unobstructed and provide enough oxygen to the brain and body.
In addition, there are various methods to treat the cause of the disease, such as:
• Weight loss
• Side sleep
• Use of anti-snoring devices
• Surgery to open the upper airway if there is a narrowing of the upper airway.
Article by: Dr. Chhorn Sotheavy, Pulmonary Specialist at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital
Source: What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults? American Thoracic Society, ATS Patient Education Series, 2017 American Thoracic Society