Can you die of snoring

sleep disorders Sleep apnea: when sleeping becomes life-threatening

The most reliable way to diagnose sleep apnea is to do an examination in the sleep-laboratory. But not everyone who snores and is often tired is referred to the sleep laboratory. First, less time-consuming examinations are carried out in order to confirm or even refute the suspicion.

In a sleep laboratory examination, which takes place over a night or two, various parameters such as brain waves, eye movements during sleep, muscle tone, blood pressure and heart rate are measured. From this it can be seen how strongly restful deep sleep and dream sleep phases are affected.

If sleep apnea is diagnosed, further visits to the doctor are advisable, for example examinations by an ear, nose and throat doctor, an oral surgeon or a neurologist.

This is how sleep apnea is treated

Sleep apnea can be treated with different methods, but it always depends on the individual case.

  • If you have mild sleep apnea, it is advisable to lose excess weight.
  • Alcohol, nicotine and the use of sleeping pills should be avoided.
  • Use aids to avoid sleeping on your back. For example, there are devices that send out an alarm as soon as the person concerned lies down on their back. Or a tennis ball that is sewn into the back of the pajamas, forcing the sleeper to turn around. A taller pillow could also help raise your upper body.
  • If other therapies do not work, custom-made bite splints that are worn at night can be helpful.
  • Sleep apnea syndrome can be treated most effectively with a special breathing mask, so-called CPAP masks (English for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). CPAP masks use excess pressure to prevent the airways from collapsing. However, the prerequisite is that a breathing mask with straps is fastened around the head at night.

Operations only in special cases

Surgical shortening of the soft palate can be considered in individual cases - but it does not guarantee subsequent freedom from symptoms.

If treatment with the CPAP mask is not possible, the tongue pacemaker can be an effective alternative. But not everyone is suitable for the innovative treatment. The suitability is checked in medical examinations by a doctor.