Sleep apnea and polysomnography

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by the presence of snoring and respiratory arrest during sleep , caused by the periodic closure (collapse) of the upper airways at the level of the pharynx in a sleeping person. Due to these stops, the level of oxygen in the blood decreases, and gross fragmentation of sleep occurs (its structure is disturbed). Night rest becomes inadequate, there is excessive daytime sleepiness .  

It is possible to study the processes occurring in the body during sleep only during sleep itself. If sleep apnea is suspected, the diagnosis is confirmed in specialized institutions (or specialists of the sleep center at home), where the patient undergoes an examination called polysomnography . The procedure for detecting sleep apnea is done during the night’s sleep.    

The overnight study in human breathing (blood oxygen saturation, respiratory flow, respiratory mechanics, snoring), heart rate (using the ECG), changes in the muscular activity (EMG), eye movement (EOG) and other indicators. An important component of this study is the recording of the structure of sleep, which makes it possible to judge its quality. It does this by measuring the bioelectrical activity of the brain using electroencephalography.   

If sleep apnea is absent, healthy sleep is characterized by a certain physiological structure , consisting of several stages: 

  • first stage of slow wave sleep or phase of falling asleep
  • second stage of slow wave sleep or phase of light sleep
  • third stage of slow wave sleep  
  • fourth stage of slow wave sleep  
  • REM sleep stage or REM-phase (phase of “rapid movement of the eyeballs”).   

During one night, a person usually goes through 4-6 sleep cycles, consisting of the listed stages. One such cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes.

Deep sleep stages are vital to the body for physical recovery, while during the REM phases, the human brain processes information received during the day. In contrast to the first and second stages of sleep, during the deep sleep phase, muscle tension (muscle tone) is significantly reduced. The lowest muscle tone is characteristic for the REM phase, when a person sees dreams. During this phase, typical rapid eye movements are noted, which is why its name (rapid eye movement).     

A patient who has sleep apnea, as a rule, does not “get enough sleep” at night to the phases of deep sleep, as he is constantly awakened as a result of alarm signals sent to the brain when breathing stops. This significantly worsens his well-being during the day.   

After a diagnostic night in the sleep laboratory, when the diagnosis of sleep apnea is confirmed, the patient is shown treatment, most often therapy with CPAP devices 

The use of the best modern CPAP devices Prisma Line from the new line of Weinmann – Loewenstein (Germany) allows the most effective and comfortable treatment of the entire spectrum of respiratory disorders in patients with OSAS.  

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