What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a condition that affects 5 to 10% of the population.
According to the Canadian Lung Association, sleep apnea is caused when the airway becomes obstructed during sleep. Soft tissue at the back of the throat reduces airflow, partially or completely blocks the airway and contributes to the condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.
The body reacts to this lack of oxygen by by briefly waking the person to take a breath. This can happen 50-100 times per hour thus significantly reducing quality of sleep.
Generally, Obstructive sleep apnea affects overweight men between the ages of 50 and 60 years of age. However, women who suffer from morning fatigue and/or headaches can alos suffer from sleep apnea. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and learning disabilities also run the risk of suffering from SAS.
What are its symptoms ?
Eventhough symptoms may seem minor it is important to consult your family doctor to find a solution effective solution.
Sleep apnea symptoms include:
- frequent night-time awakenings ;
- snoring ;
- non-restorative sleep ;
- excessive seating during sleep ;
- morning headaches ;
- fatigue, excessive daytime sleepiness ;
- depression or anxiety.
What are the treatment options ?
The CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is a device that clears the airway during sleep. A fan motor blows air through a mask and into the respiratory tract and allows a sleep apnea sufferer to breath normally and and get restorative sleep.
Dr. Pierre Mayer, lung specialist and director at the CHUM Sleep Clinic, states that once the CPAP device is correctly calibrated, the effects on the patient are immediate:
” The patient recovers normal breathing within minutes and snoring ceases. Often, and even after only one night, daytime sleepiness is reduced considerably. “
The sleep apnea patient will notice:
- reduced daytime sleepiness ;
- better work performance ;
- better intellectual capacity, most notably memory and concentration ;
- reduced anxiety ;
- reduced risk of having a stroke ;
- a better quality of life !
Les Entreprises Médicales de l’Outaouais offers a variety of CPAP devices, masks and accessories.
Consult the CPAP devices section to learn more.