What is sleep apnea?

Not many people know about sleep apnea, an illness that is all too often under-diagnosed, but which affects a large and increasing number of people. Depending on age, gender and calculation criteria, it is estimated that up to 26% of the population suffer from sleep apnea.

Causes of sleep apnea

  • Sleep apnea with metabolic origins – also called ‘obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome’ (OSAS). This is an apnea resulting from the effort of breathing to fight against an ‘obstruction’ of the upper  airways (nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx).
  • Sleep apnea with neurological origins – called ‘central sleep apnoea syndrome’ (CSAS). This involves an abnormality in breathing control.

Consequences of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea has a negative impact on the quality of sleep by reducing the length of deep and REM sleep with mini awakenings. It can be responsible for:

  • Drowsiness: Sleep apnea provokes periods of drowsiness during the day and can generate irritability, reduced sexual drive and sometimes a state of depression.
  • Cardiovascular problems: Sleep apnea can also be associated with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems because it reduces the partial pressure of oxygen in the blood.

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