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Sleep-disordered breathing can lead to dementia and an increased risk of cancer



An increasingly perceived problem

Sleep-disordered breathing is an increasingly pressing public health problem, as estimates show that as many as 150,000 Slovenians struggle with it. Interruptions in breathing can have harmful consequences for health due to lack of oxygen and other reactions of the organism.

Sleep-disordered breathing is the third most common chronic disease of the respiratory system. About 10 percent of the adult population suffers from obstructive sleep apnea. The disease is significantly more common in men, with approximately 14 percent of adult men and approximately five percent of adult women having it, mostly after menopause.

It is also closely related to excessive body weight, which as many as 70 percent of sufferers have. “Since in recent years we have witnessed increasing trends in obesity, the number of patients with this disease is also increasing,” explained the pneumology specialist from the Golnik University Clinic for Lung Diseases and Allergy Kristina Ziherl.

Chronic complications can occur

If interruptions in breathing occur every night on average at least fifteen times in every hour of sleep, then they can have harmful consequences for health due to lack of oxygen and other reactions of the organism. They become dangerous when they impair the quality of sleep so much that we are sleepless, have poorer concentration, poorer memory or problems with emotions. They can also lead to chronic complications, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

There is increasing evidence that sleep-disordered breathing also leads to dementia and increases the risk of cancer.

Snoring is difficult, if leads to poorer sleep quality

Sleep-disordered breathing is often associated with snoring, but snoring itself does not significantly affect sleep quality. However, in case of snoring, you should contact your personal doctor, if we notice poorer sleep quality, restless sleep and waking up gasping for air. Those who already have cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure or heart rhythm disorders, should be especially careful.

Treatment and therapies

In obstructive sleep apnea, there is repeated closure of the throat during sleep. For this reason, patients with severe sleep apnea are treated with a device that blows air from the room under a certain pressure into the airways and in this way keeps the pharynx open. As Ziherl explained, it is the most effective therapy and is the most frequently used.

However, therapy with hypoglossal nerve stimulators, which revives the tongue, is slowly gaining ground in the treatment, since the tongue that slides against the back wall of the pharynx contributes most to pharyngeal obstruction. “Of course, not all patients are suitable candidates for this type of therapy, and for now we do not have this therapy in Slovenia. It is very likely that we will be able to offer it to patients in the future,Ziherl said.

The Golnik Clinic has been dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of sleep-disordered breathing for more than two decades and has the largest sleep laboratory in Slovenia. Referrals for diagnosis and treatment are increasing year by year.

Source: Rtvslo

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