Sleep apnea is a disease little known to the general public, still too often underdiagnosed, but which strikes a large and growing number of our contemporaries. According to age, sex and calculation criteria, up to 26% of the population is estimated to suffer from sleep apnea.
Causes of sleep apnea
The causes of sleep apnea are of various origins. They can be categorized into two main families:
- Metabolic sleep apnea – also called “obstructive sleep apnea syndrome” (OSAS). It results from respiratory efforts to fight against an “obstruction” of the upper airways (nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx).
- Neurologically related sleep apnea – called “central sleep apnea syndrome” (SACS). This is an abnormality in the control of breathing.
Consequences of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea negatively impacts the quality of sleep by reducing the duration of deep and REM sleep through micro-arousals. She may be responsible for:
- Drowsiness: It causes periods of drowsiness during the day and can generate irritability, low libido and sometimes a depressive state.
- Cardiovascular disorders: It can also be associated with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disorders because it decreases the partial pressure of oxygen in the blood.
Why do you snore?
During the night, soft tissues tend to obstruct the airways because the muscles of the pharynx are relaxed. This obstruction generates snoring. This is all the more intense as the passage narrows. When the walls of the pharynx have completely sagged and prevents the passage of air, sleep apnea occurs.
The person must then be awake for the muscles to contract. Soft tissues no longer obstruct the passage of air and it circulates freely. Breathing then resumes normally.
Who is affected by snoring?
This pathology is finally quite common, it affects more men than women. Children can also be affected especially if they have large tonsils.
People who have a large uvula, a large tongue, a small chin, a tucked-in chin… are more prone to snoring and the risk of sleep apnea.
Obesity, arterial hypertension, snoring are also risk factors.