Screening diagnostic methods for sleep breathing disorders
Any of us, of course, knows how much a person needs a full healthy sleep. A good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to restore strength and rest. But after sleeping does a person always wake up fresh and rested? It happens that sleep is disturbed by snoring, his own or a loved one.
From time to time anyone, regardless of age, may snore. It is known that every tenth child of 4-6 years snores in his sleep, every fourth-fifth person over the age of 30 is constantly suffering from the disease.
It is widely believed that snoring is an unpleasant for others, but quite innocent and safe sound phenomenon. However, this is not entirely true. Often a loud snoring can be one of the alarming symptoms of a rather serious disease – the disease of sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
What is it and what is the danger of this condition?
Snoring can be accompanied by sleep apnea. Often the main witnesses of such a condition are people who are forced to be awake nearby. They can observe how the loud snoring suddenly breaks off, there is a frightening pause, sometimes long enough, the snoring person stops breathing, and then inhales sharply, sighs, begins to toss and turn, sometimes moving his arms, legs. There can be many such episodes during the night. This, in fact, is the disease of sleep apnea (obstructive sleep apnea syndrome).
Sleep apnea disorders lead to a dramatic deterioration in the quality of sleep and quality of life. A person does not get enough sleep, feels tired and broken in the morning, excruciating drowsiness that can occur suddenly at the most inopportune moment (at a meeting, while driving a car). Frequent companions of sleep problems are severe headaches, irritability, impaired memory and reduced performance. Moreover, frequent long pauses in breathing lead to a decrease in oxygen saturation in the blood. This affects primarily vital organs that require a large amount of oxygen for normal operation – the heart and brain. Complications of severe forms of respiratory failure can be very dangerous – a complex rhythm disturbances, poorly controlled increases in blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes.
What can cause snoring?
Most often it is due to the fact that in sleep, air passes through the upper airways with difficulty. The causes may be different: problems of the nose and nasopharynx (e.g. deviated septum, polyps, marked hypertrophy of the tonsils, chronic rhinitis, nasopharyngeal cysts); in children, breathing disorders in sleep may be most often associated with adenoids, palatine tonsil hypertrophy.
What other factors can affect the development of snoring and sleep apnea?
- Endocrine disorders (diabetes mellitus, thyroid disorders, etc.)
- Smoking and drinking alcohol
- Use of sleeping pills and sedatives
What signs should I look for?
There are many different scales for a quick initial diagnosis. The simplest and most simplified system: It is recommended that you have an in-depth examination if you have three or more of the following signs (or just the first sign):
- Loud and intermittent (with snoring) night snoring
- Frequent nocturnal urination
- Prolonged (more than 6 months) disturbance of night sleep
- Increased daytime sleepiness
- Overweight (obesity)
- Arterial hypertension (usually daytime or morning)
- Morning headaches
Is snoring always a manifestation of sleep apnea disease?
Such a question can only be answered after conducting additional investigations. The standard of diagnosis of any sleep breathing disorder is computer pulse oximetry and cardiorespiratory monitoring. These are fairly simple non-invasive methods that do not require special training, allowing a high degree of accuracy to diagnose the problem.
Computer pulse oximetry is a method of screening diagnostics of sleep breathing disorders, allows long-term recording of saturation level (blood oxygen saturation) and pulse rate with data storage in the device memory and their subsequent computer processing. Computerized pulse oximetry enables early diagnosis of blood oxygen deficiency (hypoxia).
In the case of detected changes during computer pulse oximetry for more detailed examination, a clear determination of the stage of the disease, treatment options, and the presence or absence of complications from the heart is recommended cardiorespiratory monitoring.
Cardiorespiratory monitoring is also a non-invasive technique, which allows to assess respiratory flow, snoring, blood oxygen saturation, combined with a complete diagnosis of heart function – during the study an electrocardiogram is continuously recorded.
It is the combination of diagnostic methods that allows the most accurate determination of the presence of disease, the severity of the problem, to identify complications and individually select the optimal therapy.