Quite often it is a source of amusement and quite often it is hushed up: SNORING!


One third of the adult population snores and knows the problems in everyday life which result from snoring. However, what a lot of people do not know is that snoring can be one indication of a serious health problem called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is the reason why more than 90% of the people with sleep apnea go undiagnosed.

Two to four per cent of the population suffer from sleep apnea. They experience recurrent episodes while sleeping when their throats close and they cannot draw air into their lungs (apnea). This happens because the muscles that normally hold the throat open during waking hours relax during sleep and allow it to narrow. Breathing through this narrow airway leads to strong vibrations of the soft tissue and this causes snoring. When the muscles relax too much, trying to inhale blocks the throat completely and air cannot pass at all. A cessation of breathing must last 10 seconds or more to be called apnea. These episodes can last as long as two minutes and are associated with a reduction in the blood oxygen level. With an „alarm“ micro arousal the brain terminates the apnea and the individual wakes up, thus saving his life. This arousal increases the activity of the muscles of the tongue and throat that enlarge the airway. The patient will be able to breathe and to once again fill his lungs with life-giving oxygen. This cycle may be repeated hundreds of times a night while the sufferer has no idea of what is happening.

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