What is apnea: symptoms and treatment at home

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Snoring, worrying a lot of people around the world and delivering a lot of inconvenience, can indicate the presence of serious violations in the body.

Apnea represents the unconscious stopping of breathing during a night's sleep for at least 10 seconds and lasting up to 3 minutes, which is expressed by the unexpected breaking of the rolling snoring and the dying breath that returns after another loud snort.

The pathological syndrome is accompanied by high motor activity and delivers considerable discomfort for the person and others.

People with excess weight and inflammatory diseases of the respiratory tract are at risk of developing the disease.

In severe cases, there may be more than 400 such negative manifestations during the night period, the time at which breathing is interrupted can reach 3-4 hours.

As a result, there is a sharp decrease in oxygen in the body, a person begins to worry about strong and persistent headaches, irritability, stress, increased fatigue and general weakness, absent-mindedness and worsening concentration and ongoing drowsiness throughout the day.

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content of the article:
  • Causes
  • Characteristic symptoms
  • Complications pathology
  • apnea in children
  • Diagnosis Treatment
  • disease Folk remedies
  • Preventive measures


factors of disease is a physiological feature in the form of tone muscles of the pharynx and the inner airway diameter. During the night rest, the pharyngeal muscles relax, and the negative pressure observed during inspiration causes the airway walls to stick together.

For the normalization of breathing, brain activity is required in the form of awakening, which provokes a nerve impulse sending and enrichment of blood with oxygen.

The main reasons for the development of pathology are:

  • neurological diseases;
  • obesity;
  • worsening of muscle tone due to age-related changes;
  • uncomfortable position during a night's sleep;
  • curvature of the nasal septum;
  • bad habits in a person - alcohol abuse and smoking.

Characteristic symptoms

In addition to breathlessness with regular snoring the following signs of pathology are observed:

  • Sleep disturbances for at least 6 months.
  • Frequent nocturnal urination.
  • Feeling of suffocation in a dream.
  • Weight gain and the development of obesity.
  • Drowsiness in the morning and afternoon.
  • Restlessness of a night's sleep.
  • Sensation of dry mouth in the morning after waking up.
  • Arterial hypertension in the morning and at night.

Remember! If you find yourself in any of the above 3 symptoms, you should visit a specialist as soon as possible.

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Complications of the pathology

Possible complications of apnea during the night sleep include:

  • worsening of the patient's condition in the presence of diabetes, namely - violation of the assimilation of insulin;
  • development of cardiovascular pathologies - myocardial infarction, ischemia, arrhythmia, stroke;
  • reduction in testosterone levels, which affects libido in men;
  • decrease in production of growth hormone, which causes the appearance of obesity;
  • Crisis arterial hypertension, difficult to treat with medical products.

Important! The accumulation of fat deposits in the cervical region causes a significant aggravation of the narrowing of the airways, which reduces the time interval between respiratory stops in sleep and makes seizures longer.

Apnea in children

The risk of unconscious respiratory arrest in children increases with an increase in tonsils, an underdeveloped nervous system and lowering of the chin and palate, as well as in children with Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, prematurity. The cause of pathology may be the taking of certain medicines by the mother during the breastfeeding period.

Signs of nocturnal apnea in children are:

  • night cough;
  • wheezing;
  • loud breath of crumbs during sleep;
  • long intervals between inspiration;
  • increased sweating;
  • persistent complaints of the child for lack of sleep;
  • increased anxiety during wakefulness.

The most dangerous is the obstructive form of the disease, which is characterized by cyanosis of the lips and fingers of the baby, pallor of the face, decreased muscle tone and slowing of the heart rate.

Nocturnal sleep apnea in children requires special care of parents and an immediate call to a doctor because of the increased likelihood of sudden death syndrome during a night's sleep.


An important role in the diagnosis is played by family members of the patient, who are asked to record the duration and frequency of respiratory sleep stops( Rovinsky's method) using a stopwatch.

Up to 15 episodes of respiratory arrest overnight indicate an mild degree of apnea, up to 30 - about an average degree, more than 30 attacks indicate the presence of a severe form of the disease. If there are less than 5 episodes, there is no pathology.

The specialist calculates the body mass index, if you exceed the exponent 35, you get obesity of the second degree, which is an aggravating circumstance in apnea. The index is calculated by dividing the body weight in kilograms by the growth rate in meters, squared.

The doctor measures the volume of the patient's neck, which should normally be up to 40 cm and measures blood pressure, while raising it to 140/90 is a sign of an existing problem.

Each patient undergoes obligatory consultation with an otolaryngologist to identify anomalies of the nasal septum in the form of curvature, sinusitis, tonsillitis in the chronic stage, rhinitis( see the treatment of vasomotor rhinitis in this article) or polyps.

Polysomnographic examination is performed, which allows to fix the level of respiratory activity, electrical impulses, periodicity and duration of attacks during sleep.

Treatment of the disease

At home, you can follow the following useful methods to improve a person's condition:

  • Refuse alcohol and use drugs with hypnotic effect. Their influence leads to a greater relaxation of the muscles of the pharynx.
  • The best posture for sleep is on one side, with a raised head. For fixing, you can use special embossed pillows or use a tricky method - sew a night pajamas pocket and put a tennis ball in it, which will not allow a person to roll over in a dream on his back. It usually takes 1 month to develop a reflex.
  • You should try to breathe through your nose.
  • Discard bad habits, especially from smoking.
  • Install an ultrasonic humidifier in the restroom.
  • Try to eliminate excess weight.
  • It is useful to use a special device against snoring in a dream.

Treatment, which selects a specialist, is aimed at eliminating the cause that caused the development of a dangerous disease:

  • Restoration of the nasal septum.
  • Application of the radio wave method to strengthen the flabby palate.
  • Removal of tonsils and adenoids surgically.
  • Weight normalization for obesity. Sometimes it is enough to lose up to 5 kilograms for a significant relief of the condition.
  • Purpose of medications for neurological problems.

Effective with nighttime apnea respiratory stimulant - Acetazolamide, Theophylline.

In severe forms of pathology surgical intervention is used:

  • uzvilopalatofaringoplastika - removal of palatine arch and tongue, as well as tonsils, a painful procedure that is practically not used today;
  • plastic soft palate with a laser knife or liquid nitrogen;
  • has a hardware effect to create positive pressure in the upper respiratory tract.

In difficult cases, use of CIPAP therapy. Before going to sleep, a special mask is put on the patient's nose, connected to the device creating the pressure necessary for comfortable breathing of a person.

Folk remedies

Medical staff confirm the positive impact of using traditional medicine methods to eliminate nighttime apneas, but any recipe from natural ingredients is recommended only after consulting a doctor.

The most effective means for unconscious stopping of night breathing are:

  • In 1 glass of warm water, dissolve 1 teaspoon of sea salt .The solution is poured into the palm of your hand, pulled in by your nose and blown out. The method is suitable for moisturizing the mucous membranes of the nose and throat.
  • It is recommended to instill in the nostril 5 drops sea buckthorn oil before night sleep. The course of treatment is several weeks. It has a healing effect, restores blood circulation, eliminates inflammation from the tissues of the nasopharynx, which helps to improve nasal breathing.
  • It is useful to eat before meals for 1 carrots in baked form .
  • In 1 glass of freshly squeezed cabbage juice honey is added in the amount of 1 teaspoon. It is taken before night sleep. The course of treatment is 1 month.
  • Before going to bed, it is recommended to rinse the throat with 1 tablespoon olive oil , which has a softening effect.

Interesting! One of the effective ways to combat apnea is singing or reading aloud, which helps to strengthen the pharyngeal muscles with an average and mild degree of disease. The condition of the patient can significantly improve yoga.

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Preventive measures

To prevent the occurrence of nocturnal apnea, it is recommended to follow simple rules:

  • Follow the body weight. With extra pounds, a person needs a correction of nutrition and performing special physical exercises.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and give up harmful habits - alcohol and smoking.
  • Minimize the use in the afternoon drinks with a tonic effect.
  • Use a low pillow and a hard mattress for sleeping.
  • Sleep on your side or on your stomach to prevent snoring.
  • It is useful to walk before going to bed, perform a massage or take a bath.

Prolonged exposure to the pathology of nocturnal breathing on the human body in the absence of treatment leads to physical and psychological problems and can endanger life.

For neutralization of nocturnal sleep apnea, consult a physician if the first anxiety symptoms occur. Only an expert will select a competent traditional treatment with reinforcement by popular methods, which will lead to the speedy elimination of a dangerous problem.

We also suggest you watch a video on how to treat snoring:

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