According to statistics, every fifth person after 30 years snores in his sleep. Snoring is perceived as an unpleasant but harmless sound phenomenon. Alas, this is not the case. Snoring is a precursor to sleep apnea.
Apnea is an arrest of respiratory movements. Usually occurs when the walls of the larynx close together, which prevents air from entering the lungs. Apnea increases the risk of diseases such as hypertension, heart attack and stroke.
The first observers of apnea are awake loved ones who fearfully observe how suddenly snoring stops and breathing stops, after a while the sleeping person snores loudly and begins to breathe again. Sometimes there are up to 400-500 respiratory stops per night, which leads to both acute and chronic nocturnal hypoxemia, which in turn significantly increases the risk of developing arterial hypertension, heart rhythm disturbances, myocardial infarction, stroke, etc.
Apnea is accompanied by daytime sleepiness, which leads to decreased performance. Apnea does not last long, from 10 seconds to 2 minutes. After a short time, the brain determines that it needs oxygen and gives the order to wake up. But the patient does not always wake up. He can continue to sleep. But still, when the respiratory movements stop, the structure of sleep is disturbed.
Apnea and snoring are promoted by obesity, alcohol consumption, diseases of the pharynx and nose, and sometimes drugs.
Obvious signs of apnea:
1. Stopping breathing during sleep;
2. Loud or intermittent snoring;
3. Increased daytime sleepiness;
4. Nighttime urination;
5. Prolonged disturbance of night sleep (more than 6 months);
6. Arterial hypertension (especially nocturnal and morning);
7. Obesity at 2-4 stages.
There is also the concept of conscious sleep apnea. A similar method of stopping breathing is used by athletes who are engaged in diving. When immersed deep in water, they use apnea, i.e. temporary stop of respiratory movements.
There are differences between apnea and snoring. During apnea, the airways are completely blocked, and during snoring, the airway lumen remains, i.e. their narrowing occurs. Apnea is a more severe syndrome than snoring and therefore can be more severe as well.