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Apnea Obstructiva del Sueño, MSN Doctor Noticias
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Apnea Obstructiva del Sueño, MSN Doctor Noticias

Obstructive sleep apnea is a respiratory disease characterized by the fact that people who suffer from it habitually snore, have repeated stops of breathing (apneas) and drowsiness during the day. As a consequence, patients who suffer from it cannot get a good rest during sleeping hours.

Under normal conditions, when people sleep, the airway is permeable, that is, they can breathe easily. However, in some phases of sleep the tissues close and block the airway causing apnea.

In addition to this cause, there are other factors that can increase the risk of having apnea:

  • Have the lower jaw shorter than the upper jaw.

  • Certain shapes of the palate or airway that cause the collapse of the airway.

  • Have a large neck.

  • Possessing a tongue that can roll back to block the airway.

  • The obesity.

  • Having large tonsils or vegetations that can block the airway.


How do we identify apnea?

Snoring is the most visible manifestation that can alert the patient to the possibility of having sleep apnea. People with the disease usually start snoring very loudly after falling asleep. In addition, it is interrupted during a period of silence while the patient suffers from apnea. This period of silence is followed by a gasping snort as the patient tries to breathe again.

As a consequence of the episodes, the patient's sleep is not restful and there is daytime sleepiness, the presence of chronic fatigue and even respiratory and cardiovascular disorders.

The person with apnea usually gets up frequently to go to the bathroom, wakes up frequently with a dry mouth and the next day they feel tired, headache and complain of the high probability of falling asleep in inappropriate situations, while driving, reading or attending Work meetings.

How do we avoid sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is linked to certain factors such as increased tonsil tissue in children and obesity in adults. For this reason, the main measure that can help prevent apnea is losing weight, as well as applying certain hygienic-dietary measures, physical exercise, etc.

"80 percent of sleep apnea patients are obese"

There are different types of Sleep Apnea, the apnea and hypopnea index, that is, how many times we have each hour, throughout the night, respiratory stops of a time greater than 10 seconds, will mark the types of sleep apnea that can be divided into:

  • Mild: when there are between 5 and 15 apneas per hour.

  • Moderate: the patient has between 15 and 30 apneas per hour.

  • Severe or severe: when it passes 30 apneas per hour.



The diagnosis is made by performing a sleep test that can be complete, includes neurological and respiratory variables, called polysomnography or it can also be diagnosed with more abbreviated tests, such as respiratory polygraphy, which includes only respiratory variables and can be performed in the hospital or in the home.

Apnea Obstructiva del Sueño, MSN Doctor Noticias


Therapy for sleep apnea is not curative. It is aimed at relieving symptoms. There are several types of treatments that are applied depending on the severity:

Routine treatment: the most accepted and preferred treatment is CPAP, recommended in almost all patients. This consists of a pressure generator that transmits continuous pressure to the upper airway through a nasal mask, preventing it from collapsing. According to specialists, this mask usually has a quick effect, making night snoring and daytime sleepiness disappear. This treatment does not usually have serious side effects and if they appear they are temporary and disappear after the first weeks.

Surgical treatment: it is recommended when there are some injuries such as polyps or hypertrophy of the tonsils, or when the mask is not well tolerated due to the existence of some damage to the upper airway.

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