Sleep apnea is a syndrome characterized by occurrence of abnormally frequent episodes of interruptions (newborns) or reductions (hypopneas) of breathing during sleep. These breath breaks last from 10 to 30 seconds or more, and can be repeated a hundred times a night. They are due to repeated or partial obstructions of respiratory ducts of back of throat that occur during sleep.
This reduction or interruption of ventilation during sleep causes a lack of oxygen. The brain reacts, awakening sleeper so that he takes his breath. These short-term awakenings cause a stuttering, poor quality sleep accompanied by snoring.
The importance of sleep apnea is measured by number of hypopneas per hour of sleep. Between 5 and 15, sleep apnea is considered light; Between 16 and 30, it is moderate; If number of apneas is greater than 30, syndrome is considered severe.
How to recognize sleep apnea?
Snoring, breathing breaks, fragmentation of sleep with awakenings or micro-awakenings, sweats, or even agitation must alert. However, snoring is not always a sign of sleep apnea. About 40% of snorers do sleep apnea. However, 90% of people who have this symptom snore.
The first cause of sleep apnea is overweight and obesity. In France, 15% of population is obese. However, all overweight people do not sleep apnea. There are also or risk factors, such as facial anatomical anomalies or oto-rhino-laryngologies, sex (men are more affected) or lifestyle (alcohol, tobacco ...).
Fatigue, a sign that has to alert?
Fatigue is not normal and can result from a sleep apnea syndrome. Fatigue is often accompanied by drowsiness in se patients. They have to take a nap.
Or signs of a non-restorative sleep appear during day: disorders of concentration and memory, irritability but also disorders of libido, more rarely reported by patients.
The examination to confirm diagnosis is "Nocturnal ventilatory polygraph". It allows to record ventilatory disorders of sleep. In case of doubt, Doctor can also perform a polysomnography where, in addition to respiratory sensors, neurological sensors are used to record sleep phases.
What are auto-diagnostic apps worth?
Between mobile applications and connected sensors (bracelets ...), in recent years have seen flourishing of "connected" solutions that try to assist patients. What are y really worth? The principle of se tools is to capture sounds emitted by sleeper while sleeping. Respiratory arrests and irregularities are thus recorded.
Or solutions exist, such as pulse oximeters. These devices attach to end of a finger or can be integrated into a connected bracelet. They measure level of oxygen saturation in blood capillaries.
However se connected objects are far from good diagnostic tools. Moreover, none is scientifically validated. Indeed, sensors are too inaccurate and applications are struggling to distinguish snoring of sleeper from those of spouse. Neverless se tools can be useful for people sleeping alone, allowing m to know wher y snore or not.
"TOC TOC Docteur" is new health programme of Figaro Live, hosted by journalists of Figaro Health Department.
For more information, see our sleep apnea sheet
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