Sleep Apnea: the symptoms that must alert

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Sleep Apnea: the symptoms that must alert

What is sleep apnea?

Formerly known as "obstructive sleep apnea syndrome" (OSA), sleep apnea is now referred to as "obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome" (OSAHS) in medical jargon.

Sleep apnea, kezako? Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by breathing pauses (apnea) or a decrease in the respiratory rate (hypopnea) during the night.

Problem: these apneas or hypopneas nocturnes (which last, in general, only a few seconds) lead to a decrease in oxygenation of the blood. As a result, the brain "panics" and the sleeper suddenly wakes up (without necessarily being aware of it) for a few seconds to catch his breath - we talk about nocturnal micro-waking.

To know : sleep apnea occurs when "breathing pauses" last for at least 10 seconds and occur at least 5 times per hour of sleep. Hypopneas, on the other hand, are identified by measuring oxygen saturation during sleep - this is done during a night spent in a sleep study center.

Sleep apnea: who is concerned?

This sleep disorder is not uncommon since about 4% of French people suffer from obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS). Factors promoting the development of sleep apnea are as follows:

  • overweight and obesity (with a body mass index greater than 25),
  • age (30% of people over 65 would be affected),
  • sex (on average, men are twice as affected as women),
  • ENT history (surgical operations, respiratory allergies ...),
  • genetic peculiarities of size and position of the jaw, tongue and palate,
  • regular consumption of alcohol and / or tobacco and / or sedatives.

To know : women are more frequently concerned with sleep apnea after menopause and during pregnancy. Moreover, in France, sleep apnea affects nearly 2% of children between 2 and 6 years of age.

It's serious ? Yes, because sleep apnea is a factor that promotes the development of cardiac rhythm disorders (ventricular arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation ...) and cardiovascular disorders (myocardial infarction, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure ...). No question, therefore, to "hang out"!

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

During the night, sleep apnea is manifested by:

  • a severe and daily snoring, which is often annoying for the family,
  • breathless episodes during sleep,
  • awakenings with a start (often with a sensation of asphyxiation or suffocation),
  • restless sleep (interspersed with repeated micro-awakenings),
  • nightmares (asphyxiation, fall, imminent death ...),
  • restless, restless sleep (with particularly loose sheets and / or sweating),
  • a need to urinate more than once during the night (we speak of nocturia).

Sleep apnea also causes symptoms during the day:

  • excessive drowsiness, especially during monotonous periods: reading, watching television, being a passenger in a car, attending a meeting,
  • involuntary drowsiness (in the office ...),
  • a fatigue "that does not pass" (we speak of asthenia),
  • difficulty concentrating, memorizing things,
  • mood disorders (irritability or feeling depressed in particular),
  • headaches in the morning (more rare),
  • disorders of the libido and / or erectile dysfunction.

To know : in case of suspicion of sleep apnea, you can make an appointment with a general practitioner, an ENT doctor or a sleep specialist neurologist.


Health Insurance

Cenas Sleep Center

Morphée Network

Read also :

⋙ Sleep apnea: different symptoms in children, which must be recognized

⋙ Higher risk of sleep apnea in premature babies

⋙ People who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's disease

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