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HomeLatest NewsThe definitive alternative to treat sleep apnea

The definitive alternative to treat sleep apnea

Date: April 12, 2024 Time: 17:29:19

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common respiratory disease that causes recurrent awakenings during the night, preventing you from getting a restful sleep. Specifically, it consists of the total (apnea) or partial (hypopnea) interruption of breathing due to collapses or closures in the upper airway while sleeping. If this problem is not fixed, the consequences of a bad rest can increase the risk of developing serious health problems.

Specifically, suffering from this condition is associated with an increased risk of incidence of arterial hypertension and type 2 diabetes: “People may think that it only affects the quality of sleep. However, the problem is not only sleeping well or poorly, but it can have important consequences at the cardiovascular, neuropsychic, metabolic level and increases the risk of traffic accidents, therefore, it is a very important disease”, affirms the head of the Otorhinolaryngology Unit of Hospital Ruber Internacional, Miriam Navarro Cunchillos.

“OSA does not only affect the quality of sleep”

Sleep surgery has the fundamental goal of reducing this collapsibility of the upper airway during sleep. To do this, a complete clinical history, a nocturnal polysomnography to confirm the severity of the condition, and an endoscopic exploration with induced sleep to identify the area or areas of obstruction must be carried out correctly. Patients eligible for surgical treatment are basically those who do not tolerate or simply reject more conservative measures such as mandibular advancement devices or positive airway pressure devices.

Identify the symptoms

Most people with OSA are unaware that their breathing is interrupted during sleep and are unaware of the number of times they have “woken up” during the night. Some wake up with a feeling of shortness of breath or wake up with a sore throat or dry mouth, others are drowsy during the day or have difficulty concentrating on their daily activities. The most common symptom is snoring.

The most common symptom is snoring.

“Clinical manifestations vary greatly depending on the phenotypes. In men, snoring, apnea observed by the partner and drowsiness are the most characteristic, but beware, in women, they manifest in another way, mainly with depression, anxiety, headache and tiredness. This means that the diagnosis is often made late”, adds the head of the Pneumology Service of the same center, Eva Arias Arias.

Why do we suffer from OSA?

Although there is an enormous “variability of anatomical factors” that can explain the closure of the airway while we sleep, the most frequent are “increased size of the palate, tonsils, and base of the tongue,” as well as “dentofacial and obesity,” says Dr. Navarro. Her counterpart, Dr. Arias, agrees on this, and she points to the need for a “multidisciplinary approach” to this disease that includes “maxillofacial surgeons, otolaryngologists and specialized dentists, as well as neurologists and pulmonologists.”

Many of the problems associated with OSA may be due to craniofacial alterations.

In well-selected cases, surgery is a great option to definitively correct OSA. On other occasions, going through the operating room is not a completely definitive and curative solution, but “it has an adjuvant or facilitating role, which helps the rest of the treatments have a better result or are better tolerated by the patient,” says Arias, that highlights the value of surgery as a complement to other treatments.

long-term consequences

Although sleep apnea is a condition that, when detected early, can be corrected without severe problems, both specialists from the Ruber Internacional Hospital explain that it is considered serious due to its “immediate repercussions in terms of quality of life and night rest.” and for its long-term consequences: “From the pathophysiological point of view, these consequences are related to intermittent hypoxia, fragmented sleep, and intratrathoracic pressure changes.”

“OSA has an immediate impact on quality of life and night rest”

That’s why getting treatment for OSA is key to reducing serious health problems and lowering your risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, glaucoma, and some cancers. Fortunately, Navarro indicates that the examination with the patient asleep (DISE) provides additional information to the examinations in consultation with the patient awake and reduces “much uncertainty in the surgical treatment of these patients.”

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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