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Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea syndrome is a sleep disorder characterized by an arrest or decrease in respiratory flow.


Most patients with sleep apnea syndrome do not know that they have this disease, but if they go to a doctor, it is only because of the common symptoms like headache, fatigue, etc.

In fact, it is a close relative or bedmate who is the first to discover the patient’s symptoms of apnea. In addition, if the doctor is not a sleep specialist, there may be less suspicion of this disease and therefore undetectable.

So what is sleep apnea syndrome?

It is a type of sleep disorder in which the patient experiences complete episodes of short-term apnea or shortness of breath for about 10 to 30 seconds. This usually happens several times during sleep.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

• The first type – Obstructive sleep apnea: This is the most common type, with over 80% sleep apnea. In this type, apnea occurs because the upper airways are blocked during sleep (because the tongue, the tissues at the back of the throat are too large or abnormal in the jaw bone), the blockage can be partial or complete., Until thoracic and abdominal movements are maintained.

• The second type – Central sleep apnea: This is a type of sleep apnea, which accounts for less than 5% of all sleep apneas. In this case, the brain is not sending the proper signals to control the respiratory muscles, so the respiratory center stops, the respiratory movements of the chest and abdomen are stopped and of course the air flow is stopped. exchanged. through the mouth, the nose is no longer available. The cause of the central form of apnea is often due to serious illnesses in the patient, such as a heart disorder – people with atrial fibrillation or congestive heart failure account for up to 40% of central apnea. some sleep; or people who have had a stroke or brain tumor; then those who use certain opioid drugs such as morphine, oxycodone and codeine, etc. are also at high risk for CNS sleep apnea syndrome.

• The third type – Mixed sleep apnea: Includes both types, accounting for about 15% of sleep apnea.

In this conversation I will talk in more detail with you about the first type,

Obstructive sleep apnea, as mentioned above, accounts for a very high proportion – over 80% of all sleep apnea cases. Obstructive apnea is very harmful to the cardiovascular system and can seriously affect the health of the patient. If not diagnosed and treated promptly, Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome will lead to many dangerous, mild complications, it is also memory loss, loss of concentration, etc. … in severe cases, angina, myocardial infarction, stroke, traffic accident, accident at work, etc.

So how do you recognize sleep apnea syndrome?


One of the most common signs of sleep apnea syndrome is loud snoring while sleeping. There are nocturnal apneas, puffs, gasping before resuming normal breathing. Waking up at night because you feel suffocated. Snoring is usually loudest on your back and eased on your side. Over time, snoring occurs more often and louder. However, most patients often don’t know they are having trouble sleeping, don’t even know how they snore, and of course, don’t even know the severity of the disease on their own.

Here I would also like to clarify that people with sleep apnea syndrome often have symptoms of loud snoring when sleeping. But on the contrary, there are people who snore or snore loudly while sleeping do not have this syndrome!

Another common symptom of sleep apnea is excessive daytime sleepiness, and the patient may sleep at work even while driving. Other manifestations of sleep apnea syndrome may include morning headaches, memory loss, loss of concentration, irritability, depression, mood swings, frequent nighttime urination, dry neck . Upon awakening … In children, sleep apnea syndrome can cause hyperactivity, fight, decrease academic success, urination …

If you observe a loved one snoring very regularly, suddenly no sound is heard, more than 10 seconds start to see that person move, choke and snore, then this is the sign of the signs of apnea;

In fact, the patient himself feels suffocating, suffocating, and having difficulty breathing while sleeping. The most noticeable manifestation is that patients often wake up at night, can urinate 3-4 times or more, do not sleep well; waking up tired, having a headache in the morning, not feeling refreshed, very drowsy, having trouble concentrating, etc.

To sum up, I would like to reiterate some of the important symptoms of sleep apnea syndrome

• Snoring, especially loud snoring on the back, accompanied by apnea, asphyxia;

• Waking up several times during the night.

• pee several times during the night

• Not feeling relaxed and at ease when waking up the next morning,

• Morning headaches;

• Fatigue, memory loss and difficulty concentrating during the day;

• Being drowsy during the day despite getting enough sleep;

• Anxiety, irritability or depression.

• Doze off while driving.

• etc.


If you have the above signs and symptoms, or have any questions or concerns, see your doctor. In addition, you should contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as:

• If your loved one or partner notices that you snore very loudly while you sleep and are accompanied by apnea for 10 seconds or more, sometimes accompanied by sudden gasping

• You often wake up due to difficulty breathing or not being able to breathe

• You snore and have high blood pressure, swollen legs, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, poor physiology or impotence

• You snore and are often sleepy during the day and especially want naps during the day

• You snore and often have pain and burning, headaches and fatigue when you wake up

• And you snore who often lose sleep


When central sleep apnea occurs due to serious illness, the brain fails to send the correct nerve signals to control breathing during sleep, causing apnea as well as immobility of the rib cage and the body. ‘abdomen.

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, on the other hand, occurs because the upper airways are partially or completely blocked by blocking the airways, while chest and abdominal movements are maintained.

Either way, if oxygen is not received for more than 20 seconds, your brain will wake you up quickly so that you can breathe normally again. Your sleep is interrupted several times, so you will feel tired and drowsy during the day.


Sleep apnea can occur at any age, but it is more common in middle age, increasing with age as men outnumber women.

And people at high risk for sleep apnea have:

• Overweight, obesity (the risk of sleep apnea is 3 times higher than normal because the fat accumulates around it easily obstructs breathing);

• There are structural abnormalities of the upper respiratory tract (enlarged tonsils, small jaws, posterior jaws, excessively large tongue, nasal congestion, etc.);

• Have other medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, heart failure, cerebrovascular disease …

• Chronic stuffy nose;

• Alcoholism, use of sedatives, drugs;

• And, finally, genetic predisposition: if your family has a loved one with sleep apnea, you run a higher risk of developing the syndrome;


If not diagnosed and treated early, sleep apnea syndrome will contribute to dangerous complications such as memory loss, loss of concentration, traffic accident, accident at work, stroke., Angina, Myocardial infarction, sudden death at night … Depending on the cause and severity of the disease, there must be appropriate treatment measures.

Currently, the most reliable diagnostic method currently widely applied is to use a multi-chromatograph to record all sleep abnormalities. So, doctors make timely diagnosis and treatment

Unfortunately, people are still not receiving specific treatment for sleep apnea today. Treatments offered only to help limit the narrowing of the airways include:

– Using a special mask at night (CPAP machine) increases the pressure to prevent the airways from narrowing;

– Use a breathing apparatus.

– Or, surgery to widen the airways. The doctor will remove the excess tissue that narrows the airways or widens the jaw

Before relying on medical intervention, however, you should be able to properly manage your sleep apnea on your own if you take a few things to consider:

• Lose weight if you are overweight or obese so that your airways do not become blocked. In addition, losing weight will also improve your health and quality of life, while reducing daytime sleepiness;

• Exercise and exercise regularly to increase blood circulation; You have a wide choice of sports adapted to your interests and your physical conditions. Among them, yoga is one of the preeminent options with the ability to improve both physically, to connect and to master yourself, helping you to get quality sleep.

• You can also apply essential oils to help relax the body, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, relieve stress, and lose sleep. Specifically, essential oils can treat sleep apnea by opening the airways to promote easy breathing, release allergies and nasal airway obstruction, promote good and deep sleep, and relax the mind., Etc. . Essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint can be used to open up the nasal and respiratory passages, as well as to clear up allergies, colds, and coughs that can cause respiratory arrest. Meanwhile, the essential oils of lavender, marjoram, cedar and valerian, etc. can promote uninterrupted deep sleep.

• Use nasal sprays or salt water to keep your nasal passages from getting blocked if you have a stuffy nose. Talk to your doctor about the medications you need to take.

• Avoid drinking alcohol, smoking;

• Avoid taking sedatives and other medications without consulting your doctor;

• And finally, during sleep, to prevent the tongue and palate from pressing on the airways. you should sleep on your stomach or on your side and lie on your right side so as not to put pressure on your heart;

I wish you good luck, goodbye and see you soon!

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Docteur en Physiopathologie
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