Snoring and sleep-related breathing problems

Snoring is a big problem. Especially when there is also apnea: a pause in breathing of more than 10 seconds. In a small proportion of people who snore, the pharynx is so narrow that the tongue and/or the soft palate with the uvula and/or the throat wall are occasionally sucked completely against each other, causing a total closure of the airway: there is a respiratory arrest that can last thirty seconds or longer. People then speak of obstructive sleep apnea, the most common sleep-related breathing disorder.

Quality of sleep

Due to all these apneas and alarm signals from the brain, the quality of sleep is very poor; it is actually difficult or impossible to sleep deeply enough. The sleep apnea patient does not wake up rested and suffers from daytime sleepiness. This does not just mean being tired, but also unintentionally falling asleep, for example during a conversation with someone, while reading a newspaper, but sometimes also during activities such as driving a car. This can lead to dangerous situations, not only for yourself, but also for others.

Alarm signals

The alarm signals from the brain also cause fluctuations in the blood pressure; this has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system and can lead to high blood pressure. Snoring is, therefore, not just annoying for your partner, it also damages your own health. Your body and mind are not getting sufficient rest and you will not recover properly during the night. This also means that people suffering from sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) have a shorter life expectancy.

Unspecified patients have an increased risk of:

  • Traffic or industrial accidents
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Mild cognitive impairment or dementia

Which complaints are consistent with OSAS?

  • Snoring
  • Cessation of breathing during sleep (ask your partner)
  • Waking up suddenly with feelings of asphyxiation or gasping for air
  • Regularly waking up to urinate
  • Night sweats
  • Interrupted or restless sleep
  • Sleepiness during the day (falling asleep spontaneously, for example when watching TV or when driving)
  • Lack of energy
  • Not feeling rested in the morning
  • Dry mouth on waking up
  • Morning headache
  • Memory loss, forgetfulness
  • Concentration problems
  • Feelings of depression, irritable
  • Impotence or sexual problems
  • High blood pressure that is difficult to control, heart palpitations, arrhythmias

Diagnostics

During your first consultation, and after discussing your complaints, the ENT specialist will first check your nose and throat. In order to establish that you actually suffer from an obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, a nightly screening of your sleep must take place (polysomnography).

Before your appointment with the ENT specialist, we will advise you to fill in this form, when possible together with your partner.

Treatment

Snoring and apnoea are caused by a vibration and/or blockage of the upper airway, so ways must be found to keep the airways open. The treatment of OSAS is entirely aimed at removing or significantly reducing the complaints of sleepiness or fatigue during the day and the cessation of breathing during sleep. There are various treatment options for both problems. Which treatment will be most suitable for you depends on different factors such as the severity of the OSAS in your situation and your own preferences.

More information?

www.nvsap.nl
www.kno.nl

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