Apnoeas or ipoaneas are described as a reduction of over 50% of the air flow.
Obstructive sleep apnoeas can be caused by anatomical or functional alterations of the upper airways and certain cranial-facial dimorphisms.
- Nocturnal: snoring, breathing interruption with noisy resumption of normal ventilation, restlessness during sleep, frequent or sudden awakenings with a sensation of choking.
- Diurnal: daytime sleepiness, fatigue, morning headaches, slow reflexes, mood disorders, difficulty coping with daily activities and concentration.
By hindering the correct oxygen saturation during sleep, apnoeas lead to the build-up of complications:
- Cardiovascular: increased blood pressure and heart rate which may lead to heart failure
- Cerebral: nerve cells suffering
Cures and Therapy
It is possible to intervene on various levels:
- Life style: weight loss, lateral decubitus, sleep hygiene (avoiding alcohol intake before bedtime, quitting smoking, going to bed and weakling up at constant times)
- Surgery for obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnea: correction of any defect or obstructive anatomical abnormality of the upper airways
- Mechanical ventilation with positive pressure during nigh time using CPAP or BiPAP, which prevents apnoeas by creating a positive pressure in the airways, “forcing” them to remain open and preventing the collapse of soft tissue structures.
- Use of oxygen to ensure a minimum level of SpO2 (Link O2 Flow Regulator) of 90%