Sleep apnea can often go unnoticed and be undiagnosed

Sleep apnea can often go unnoticed and be undiagnosed

“It’s easy to think that all middle-aged women are tired.” Sleep apnea may be an explanation for persistent fatigue. Especially in women, the disorder is often overlooked. Only few things annoy as much as sleeping next to a loud snorer. However, the harm can be even greater for the snorer himself, as snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea refers to repetitive sleep-related breathing interruptions that occur with intermittent, snorting snoring. Because sleep breaks repeatedly, the snorer will not wake up rested in the morning. Fatigue can continue throughout the day and even cause the person to fall asleep.

Sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder caused by obstruction of the upper airways. – For others, the cause is anatomy. If the throat is very tight, it is more susceptible to constriction. Being overweight is also a major cause: when you accumulate fat, it can build up in the neck, causing it to physically strain the airways, says a sleep researcher. The internal pressure in the chest varies with breathing in and out all the time. Due to narrowing, pressure fluctuations need to increase in order to get air in. – The sound of snoring arises when we have to increase our breathing work to get air transported through narrower airways. The tissues start to vibrate and produce sound. At some point, the pressure inside the chest becomes so high that it clogs the throat, creating a vacuum.  – Vacuum draws in the pipe from which air should pass, and the snoring stops. Some are more susceptible to this, ”says the researcher.

“There are still many undiagnosed sleep apneas”

Sleep apnea is, according to various estimates, is significantly more common that it’s diagnosed.

– The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea is not well known. It is known that at least 17 percent of men and 9 percent of women of middle age suffer from sleep apnea. There are still many undiagnosed cases. Although common, sleep apnea is often left untreated. The patient may complain of fatigue but does not notice the mention of snoring, nor will the doctor always ask about it.

– In women in particular, fatigue and other symptoms are easily interpreted as the cause of hormones. It’s easy to think that all middle-aged women are exhausted.
– However, it would be important to pick those who would be easily treated, the researcher emphasizes.

Help with sleep apnea

If your doctor determines that you have mild sleep apnea, lifestyle changes are often enough. – Even a small weight loss of 10-15 pounds can significantly facilitate breathing.

More severe cases are treated with a night-time CPAP device. The device blows air through the mask with a slight over pressure, which prevents airway obstruction.

– How the treatment is started depends on the symptoms, the patient’s profession and the symptoms of the disease. At its best, detecting and treating sleep apnea can change your whole life.

– I’ve heard dramatic stories of how quality of life has improved completely. Many patients have already limited their free time activities due to fatigue. Then, when you get treatment, you don’t have to avoid driving a caror going to concerts, for example.

Improvements in the quality of life can come as a complete surprise as the symptoms of sleep apnea creep so slowly that you get used to it. – It may be astonishing to see that this is what it feels like to be refreshed.

Sleep apnea can often go unnoticed

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

5 misunderstandings about sleep apnea

  • Not all sleep apnea patients are obese

Being overweight predisposes you to sleep apnea, but about one third of patients are normal weight. Sleep apnea in a normal weight person can be severe – and there is not always a structural cause. Also, the normal weight should be careful if you know that you tend to snore or are exceptionally tired during the day.

  • Sleep apnea is a problem for older men.

Up to 5% of children have sleep apnea. In children, the cause is often the tonsils, and in adolescence the effects of being overweight also begin to appear.

In women, a typical sleep disorder is long-term partial upper respiratory tract obstruction, which also causes symptoms such as fatigue and mood symptoms. Hormones protect younger women from sleep apnea breathing breaks, but after menopause, sleep apnea can become severe. In women, the symptoms may be different from those in men, as a woman’s symptom is typically more of a mood and fatigue type.

  • I hardly have sleep apnea when no one has pointed out snoring.

There are many types of snoring: small rustling and stuffy, loud rumbling. So far, there is no reliable way to distinguish between different snores. It is worth paying attention to how common snoring is. If it is continuous even when you have not consumed alcohol and is accompanied by symptoms of fatigue during the day, it may be sleep apnea. If you only snore after drinking alcohol, snoring is normal. Alcohol reduces muscle tension and therefore narrows the airways in the throat.

  • Is it serious if you have sleep problems? Everybody has them.

Sleep apnea is associated with serious comorbidities. It increases the incidence of cardiovascular disease and possibly cerebral infarction and other cerebrovascular disorders. The risk of accidents is multiple.

Often, treating sleep apnea significantly improves the quality of life.

  • I get tired during the day, but isn’t that normal in a busy day.

It is difficult to deduce from the mere feeling of fatigue what causes it. Nowadays, many people sleep too little, as studies have shown that sleep time has been falling steadily. Therefore, when seeking medical attention, the first thing to do is to find out exactly whether you are really sleeping enough to even be refreshed. Inexplicable fatigue should always be studied in more detail. For example, if near-misses occur in traffic, investigations are of course required.

Sleep apnea can often go unnoticed

Sleep apnea prevention and home care:

  • Lose weight. Even a slight decrease in weight reduces the number of breathing interruptions.
  • Exercise regularly. Increasing physical activity helps with weight management. What matters is not how you exercise, but how much you exercise.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol consumed in the evening increases the number and length of breathing breaks.
  • Stop smoking. Non-smoking reduces mucosal edema and mucus formation.
  • Learn to sleep on your side. You can prevent sleeping on your back, for example, by sewing a pocket with a tennis ball on the back of your pajamas.
  • Sleep enough. Sleep deprivation worsens symptoms.
  • Try support socks. Some get help because during the day, the fluid that accumulates in the lower limbs can move to the upper body in the supine position and obstruct the upper respiratory tract.

Leave a Reply