When you are suffering under sleep apnoea you are having breathing stops during sleeping. Life-threatening breathing stops. Men as well women are concerned – whereby overweight men predominate – and they all are snoring heavily. It is assumed that only in the German speaking area of Austria, Germany and Switzerland there are more than 15 millions suffering under sleep apnoea; but, there is a high number of unreported cases. Not least because people concerned very often don’t know about their disease.
Often, their bedfellow not only notices the loud snoring noises but also the breathing stops which may even last up to one minute! Certain anatomical constellations as well as insufficient muscle tension in the throat lead to a narrowness in the upper airways. Due to the too loose muscles in the throat, the pressure in the throat decreases during inhaling and the airway gets completely blocked.
The consequences are disastrous: while we are asleep, our brain is not able to realize the fateful situation. Only when the oxygen deficiency becomes life-threatening the concerned human being startles, gasps for breath with a deep and lout snoring breath – and finally oxygen is reaching the lungs again. And the whole cycle starts again. Often, a hundred times per night!
Most of the time, the people concerned don’t even realize these phases of startling. But, the body is reacting massively: first of course, there is the lack of oxygen which might lead to damages in the brain and heart. Due to the startling, blood pressure as well as pulse frequency massively increase and this in turn raises blood pressure as well as the potential risk of infarction as well as of stroke, the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline is increased. Furthermore, people concerned are not able to reach the state of rest and relaxation needed for healthy and sufficient sleep. Experts estimate, that about one third of sleep gets lost. Sleep measurements for example clearly show that phases of deep sleep are not reached or only reached for a short time. Inevitably, lack of sleep with all its consequences arises. These consequences range from lack of concentration as well as momentary nodding off and thus increased risk of accident (during work as well as in traffic), increased risk of burnout, overweight, diabetes etc.
Out of these reasons it is important to clarify even a suspected sleep apnoea with an expert. For example, there is the possibility to do a so-called sleep-apnoea screening at home. ENT-specialists or sleep medics offer an appropriate measuring instrument with which one can determine whether you are suffering under sleep apnoea and if yes its degree of severity. This is the basic for determining the needed therapy.
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