Sleep apnoea syndrome : The breathing problem during sleep

What is the sleep apnoea syndrome and what are its causes. Here, read the article about the Sleep apnoea syndrome which is the breathing problem during sleep.

Sleep apnoea syndrome is a clinical entity seen in children as well as adults where there is repetitive transient cessation of breathing or episodes of air way obstruction during sleep. It usually occurs during inspiratory phase when the person inhales. This causes vibration of soft tissue or oropharynx including valopharyngeal sphincture.

The exact definition when this can be marked as sleep apnoea syndrome is a 30 apnoeic episodes, each lasting for more than 10 seconds during a non sedated 7 hours sleep.

Causes of sleep apnoea syndrome

The main cause of sleep apnoea syndrome is any form of obstruction in the nose, nasopharynx which may be due to adenoids in children and oropharynx which may be due to enlarged tonsils. Nasopharyngeal incompetence is another cause where the opening of nasopharynx is is unable to open and close properly.

The predisposing factors are certainly obesity. Tonsillitis and adenoiditis are another cause. In adults snoring may be a presenting entity.

Diagnosis of sleep apnoea syndrome

Sleep apnoea syndrome is more common in adult males that too around the 4th decade that is after 40. It is more common ib obese person, a heavy drinker or a hypertensive patients. Diabetes can be an associated disease but is not a factor for this.

In children there may be features of large adenoids or enlarged tonsils which can be investigated for.

Thus a history of snoring with factors like obesity or hypertension or alcohol consumption in adults and adenoids and tonsil in children having episodes of air way obstruction leads to a diagnosis of sleep apnoea syndrome.

Treatment of sleep apnoea syndrome

Life syle modification has the key role for sleep apnoea syndrome in adults where the cause is either hypertension or obesity. Abstinence from alcohol is absolutely necessary. Weight reduction should be done. There are numerous methods for management of obesity. Salt restricted diet and control of blood pressure is another important step in get rid of sleep apnoea syndrome.

In children nasal surgery is required if there is any obstruction. A severely deviated nasal septum should be corrected. Adenoidectomy is required if their is large adenoids. Though tonsillectomy is indicated in quinzy that is peri tonsillar abscess, but if enlarged tonsil lead to sleep apnoea syndrome, tonsillectomy is indicated.

A reconstructive surgery called uvulo- palato- pharyngoplasy is required in some cases Sleep apnoea syndrome in normal circumstances can be without any complication, but in few cases if the duration of apnoeic spells increases may lead to sudden death or cot death. We have experienced many patients who slept and expired in his sleep. Thus a proper guidance is necessary from the initial stage of sleep apnoea syndrome.



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