Sleep Apnoea Symptoms and Treatment

Adequate sleep is essential for the good health of everyone, but when sleep apnoea occurs, a significant deterioration in the quality of life may develop. 'Apnoea' means 'no breathing', and patients with sleep apnoea stop breathing for periods from 10 to 60 seconds on many occasions whilst asleep during the night. There are two reasons for sleep apnoea developing. The most common cause is due to the small muscles at the back of the throat and in the roof of the mouth relaxing completely and allowing this tissue to become very soft and flabby. The airway tends to collapse as the patient breathes in, closing it off and preventing breathing. Snoring is also caused in the same way. Most patients with this form of sleep apnoea are overweight middle-aged men. The other cause is an effect in the brain, whereby the urge to breathe is suppressed during very deep sleep. Elderly men with high blood pressure most commonly fit into this category.

Patients complain of tiredness during the day, morning headaches, personality changes, poor concentration, bed-wetting and impotence. The sleeping partner complains about the other person's loud snoring and thrashing restless sleep. The diagnosis can best be made in a sleep laboratory, where the patients sleep and breathing pattern can be monitored through an entire night.

Treatment involves weight loss, and avoiding alcohol, sedatives and smoking, and these steps alone may be sufficient to cure the problem. In persistent cases, treatment can involve a small mask being fitted to the patient's nose, and air being blown up the nose at a slight pressure (with a small electrically driven blower called a continuous positive airway pressure blower). This 'splints' the airway open, causing air to enter the lungs and breathing to continue normally. In severe cases, a clear airway may also be established by surgery to the back of the throat and nose to remove the uvula and part of the soft palate.

More by this Author

  • Syphilis Causes and Treatment
    1

    Syphilis is a potentially fatal sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium (spirochete) called Treponema pallidum. The same organism causes another disease called yaws which is transmitted by close body contact...

  • Eczema Symptoms and Treatment
    0

    The term eczema describes a large range of skin diseases that cause itching and burning of the skin. It typically appears as red, swollen skin that is initially covered with small fluid-filled blisters that later break...

  • Appendicitis Symptoms and Treatment
    1

    Appendicitis is the inflammation of the vermiform appendix, a small pencil-like structure connected with the cecum, the first part of the large intestine. Appendicitis is caused by an obstruction and infection in the...


Comments

No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Please Note:


    • The information provided on this page is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a registered physician or other healthcare professional.

    • The content of this page is intended only to provide a summary and general overview. Do not use this information to disregard medical advice, nor to delay seeking medical advice.

    • Be sure to consult with your doctor for a professional diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment.

    Click to Rate This Article
    working