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Every fifth person after 30 years constantly snores in a dream. According to the popular belief, snoring is an unpleasant but safe sound phenomenon. However, few know that the so-called "mighty" snoring is a harbinger and one of the main manifestations of a serious illness - obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) or respiratory arrest in a dream. The first witnesses of this terrible disease are the waking relatives who watch with alarm the sudden snoring breaks and the frightening stop of breathing ... and then the sleeper snorts loudly, sometimes turns, moves his hands or feet and starts breathing again. Sometimes there may be up to 300-400 breath stops per night for a total of up to 3-4 hours.
Disturbances in the breathing of a sleeping person lead to a sharp deterioration in the quality of sleep. Headaches, persistent drowsiness, irritability, decreased attention and memory, decreased potency - this is only part of the symptoms that a person who is chronically unexplained can experience. Especially dangerous are attacks of acute sleepiness during driving, when painfully you want to close your eyes and fall asleep for at least a few minutes. Statistics show that the probability of car accidents in patients with obstructive sleep apnea is ten times greater than the average level of accident.
Why does the disease develop? The permeability of the upper respiratory tract depends on their internal diameter, the tone of the pharyngeal muscles and the magnitude of the negative pressure during inspiration. During sleep, when there is a significant decrease in the tone of the muscles of the pharynx, conditions are created for the complete collapse of the airways. This happens, as a rule, on inspiration, when a negative pressure is formed and a force is created that promotes the convergence of the airway walls.
When a person falls asleep, there is a gradual relaxation of the muscles of the pharynx. One of the next breaths leads to a complete collapse of the respiratory tract and stopping breathing. To restore airway patency requires the activation of the brain, which must send an impulse to the pharyngeal musculature and open the airways. After the resumption of breathing, the body regains its normal oxygen content, the brain calms down and falls asleep again ... the cycle repeats itself again.
Frequent prolonged respiratory arrest causes a sharp decrease in the saturation of blood with oxygen. In this case, in the first place, suffer from organs that consume large amounts of oxygen: the brain and the heart. Constant morning headaches are a manifestation of nocturnal hypoxia of the brain. In the presence of coronary heart disease, impaired saturation of blood with oxygen can trigger the development of dangerous arrhythmias and myocardial infarction. In addition, hypoxia disrupts the action of insulin, which can aggravate the course of diabetes.
Each stop of breathing - this is stress for the body, accompanied by a short-term increase in blood pressure to 200-250 mm Hg. Art. Constant nocturnal episodes of pressure increase lead to chronic arterial hypertension, often having a crisis current. This can explain the increased likelihood of stroke in this category of patients. Moreover, in such cases, arterial pressure can not be treated with conventional antihypertensive drugs.
Hypoxia and the absence of deep stages of sleep cause a decrease in the production of growth hormone, responsible for the exchange of fat in the body of an adult. As you know, eaten food is partially processed into energy, partially stored in the store in the form of fat. With a lack of food, fat is converted into energy and consumed by the body. Growth hormone provides the process of transition of fat to energy. What happens when a hormone is secreted? Fat can not turn into energy despite its lack in the body. Thus, people almost always have to consume food to replenish energy spending. At the same time, all the surpluses that are formed fall into a "dead weight", which can not be claimed. The person starts to grow stout quickly, and any efforts, dietary or medicinal, aimed at weight loss, are inconclusive.
Moreover, the fatty deposits at the neck level lead to further narrowing of the airways and the progression of the respiratory arrest in sleep, and this in turn exacerbates the lack of growth hormone. Thus, a vicious circle is created, which is almost impossible to break without special treatment. In severe forms of the disease, there is also a decrease in testosterone production, which leads to a decrease in libido and impotence in men.
How can you suspect a stopping of breathing in a dream? Patients suffering from this disease usually have a very distinctive appearance, described by Charles Dickens in the character of Joe in the "Notes of the Pickwick Club": "It was a fat man with a short neck and a red face who constantly fell asleep and began to snore in the most uncomfortable situations ... "
There are simple enough schemes with which you can suspect the disease and prescribe an additional examination. In the presence of three or more of these characteristics (or only the first feature), an in-depth study is needed:
To identify the stops of breathing in a dream, it's easiest to watch a sleeping person. Usually, immediately after falling asleep, a person develops snoring. Soon the patient suddenly stops breathing. At this time, no breathing noises, snoring stops. However, the patient tries to breathe, which is evident from the movements of the chest and abdominal wall. Approximately in 15-30 seconds the person loudly snorts and makes some deep breaths and exhalations. As a rule, the patient's sleep is very disturbing: he spins in bed, moves his hands and feet, sometimes he speaks something.
The frequency and duration of the development of respiratory arrest depends on the severity of the disease. With severe disease, cyclic respiratory arrest occurs almost immediately after falling asleep and in any position of the body. With less severe forms, this occurs only in the deep stages of sleep or when the patient sleeps on the back. Respiratory disorders are often associated with alcohol intake. Sometimes snoring and breathing stops occur only after a significant dose of alcohol, taken just before sleep.
Currently, the following methods of treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome are used: