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Apnea has no cure, but can be controlled

Apnea has no cure, but can be controlled

Snoring and shortness of breath while sleeping is not normal. These symptoms, accompanied by excessive daytime sleepiness, may indicate a disease: Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome. Those who suffer from the disorder usually wake up tired and moody. In addition, he has poor performance in day-to-day activities and may become unable to attend meetings, watch movies, and drive because of the extreme sensation that he needs to sleep.

"The illness decreases one's quality of life and increases the mortality rate, since it can favor the appearance of cardiovascular problems, diabetes and obesity ", warns the medical coordinator of the Sleep Institute and Professor of Medicine and Sleep Biology of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), Lia Bittencourt.

Sleep is central to the development of the child - Photo: Getty Images

Some risk factors, according to the expert, are: being male, being overweight, going into menopause and consuming alcohol very often . The causes are diverse. Among them, obesity, endocrine or craniofacial abnormalities, such as hypothyroidism and maxillomandibular hypoplasia, and genetic predisposition.

Symptoms
The breathing pauses characteristic of this disorder can last from 10 to 30 seconds and occur up to five times in one hour of sleep. In an attempt to breathe again, the person wakes up several times, which affects the quality of sleep and prevents adequate rest. The specific snoring of those who have apnea follows the same rhythm, is getting louder and is suddenly interrupted by a period of silence. It is at that moment that the breath stops, which seems to be a kind of choking. "In most cases, the patient does not notice these events, but rather the bed partner," says Lia.

Sleep disorders

Diagnosis

When these or other symptoms such as headache, lack of attention, memory loss and reduced libido are noticed, it is important to seek out a sleep medicine specialist to make the diagnosis. Confirmation of the disease is done by means of a polysomnography, an examination that records various functions of the body during a night spent in a sleep lab with sensors placed on the skin and scalp.

Treatments
Obstructive Apnea Syndrome of sleep rarely has a cure. "Only in cases of considerable weight loss or amygdala and adenoid surgeries in children does the complete cure occur," explains the doctor at the Sleep Institute. But the disease is controllable.

According to Lia, losing weight, not drinking alcohol before going to bed, avoid sleeping on the stomach and treating diseases of the nose and throat are essential attitudes for the control of apnea. > The use of an electrical device called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure System), which generates a flow of air through a mask on the nose, opens the throat. Intraoral devices that pull the jaw to open the passageway into the air at night may also help.

"Throat operations and facial bones are little used today because the chance of success is small," he says. Even so, they may be an option. "Orthognathic surgery repositions the jaws and creates a patent, free airway," explains the buccomaxillofacial surgeon Octávio Cintra.


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