Obstructive sleep apnea is considered an emerging disease as a public health priority because of their growing importance in both adults and children. Advances in the study of sleep have allowed to describe the problem and know the consequences.
What is sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects approximately 4% of the population. It is due to repeated obstruction of the upper airway that occurs while the affected person sleeps and generate an apnea, a temporary cessation of breathing for more than ten seconds. The apnea duration is variable and the number of them occurring per hour. If there are more than 30, the problem is considered severe. Breathing is recovered by loud snoring, which is a clinical sign.
Types and causes of sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common and which can more easily act, is caused by an enlargement of the tissues surrounding the airway, as in the case of obese patients, and relaxing the same when we sleep.
Central apnea occurs because the brain stops sending respiratory stimuli and mixed apnea both types are combined.
Other problems that are often associated with include obesity, a large tongue, presence of large tonsils or adenoids in children, nasal obstruction, soft largest palate disorders position jawbone and jaw are very withdrawn, that is, the call bird face.
Diagnosis of sleep apnea
One of the first signs is daytime sleepiness, the patient tends to fall asleep in unusual situations. Another important indication is the sound snoring preceded by respiratory arrest in a person with an uneasy sleep and daytime fatigue concerns.
The definitive diagnosis is made after a study of monitored sleep, called polysomnography. This test confirms the diagnosis and allow us to assess the severity.
Treatment of sleep apnea
The initial phase of treatment includes a series of recommendations and changes in lifestyle, and that certain behaviors can exacerbate the problem. The tips provide specialists in maxillofacial surgery are: avoid alcohol, leading a healthy weight loss diet, not smoking, avoiding sleeping on your back, keeping constant sleep habits, review your medication with your GP, especially considering avoid drugs that relax the nervous system; exercising daily, among others.
You can also indicate devices that keep the airway open: intraoral mandibular advancement devices or appliances continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
In more severe or do not tolerate this type of equipment cases, we resort to the help of surgery. Thanks to her we can act on the palate and / or tongue, although currently orthognathic surgery maxillary and mandibular advancement is the best choice, since achieved outstanding results in the remission of this serious health problem.