QUESTION 1: What is sleep apnea?

ANSWER:  It is the decrease or cessation of breathing during sleep due to obstructions in the upper airway. If these respiratory events occur with a certain frequency, sleep apnea is mentioned.


QUESTION 2: What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

ANSWER:  Severe snoring, episodes of respiratory arrest during sleep, and daytime sleepiness are the main symptoms of this disease. In addition, complaints such as waking up tired in the morning, waking up with morning headaches, distraction, general reluctance and fatigue, waking up frequently at night, waking up with a feeling of suffocation are also quite common in this disease.


QUESTION 3:  Is sleep apnea common?

ANSWER: It is a very common disease. It is seen in 4% of men and 2% of women. In recent studies, it has been reported that sleep apnea is seen at a relatively high rate of 10% in the population.


 QUESTION 4:  Is sleep apnea a dangerous disease?

ANSWER:  It is quite dangerous, cessation or reduction of breathing during sleep leads to a decrease in blood oxygen level. The decrease and subsequent increase in oxygen level with apneas leads to changes in blood oxygen level during the night. These changes lead to the release of certain substances from the inner walls of the blood vessels and a predisposition to atherosclerosis occurs. Sleep apnea is closely related to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. In addition, frequent interruption of sleep and stimulation of the body due to apneas trigger hypertension and rhythm disorders. Sleep apnea and hypertension are closely related.


QUESTION 5:  Why do sleep apnea patients wake up tired in the morning, why do they feel sleepy during the day?

ANSWER:  Complete cessation or reduction of breathing during sleep leads to sleep interruptions. In these sleep interruptions, the person is not fully awake, but his sleep becomes shallow and electrophysiological awakening occurs in the brain. The more frequent the respiratory events, the more frequent the sleep interruptions. Sleep interruptions affect the quality of life extremely negatively, waking up tired in the morning and sleepiness during the day; It leads to losses in work efficiency and deterioration of social life. It is known that a significant portion of traffic accidents are associated with sleep apnea. 


QUESTION 6:  Who is at risk for sleep apnea?

ANSWER:  It is well known that sleep apnea is more common in men and its incidence increases with advancing age. The most important risk factors for sleep apnea are obesity and being overweight.


QUESTION 7:  I suspect that I or someone close to me has sleep apnea, what should I do?

ANSWER:  As mentioned above, sleep apnea is a condition that negatively affects the quality of life and is closely related to cardiovascular diseases. Diagnosis is extremely important. In case of such a doubt, the relevant physician should be examined and the necessary tests should be performed. Since the disease is caused by obstructions in the upper airway, it is very important to evaluate the upper airway by an otolaryngologist. This evaluation is important for diagnosis as well as useful in determining the appropriate treatment method. The definitive diagnosis is reached by the "polysomnography" test, which is popularly known as the sleep test. In this examination, the patient is hospitalized for one night in the sleep laboratory, and many parameters such as respiration, blood oxygen level, heart rate and sleep stages are evaluated.

QUESTION 8: Can the sleep test be done at home?

ANSWER:  The sleep test can be done at home. As accurate results can be obtained as the examinations made in the hospital and under the supervision of a technician.


QUESTION 8:  How is the severity of sleep apnea determined?

ANSWER:  In the polysomnography examination, respiratory events (apneas and hypopneas) experienced by the patient during the night are scored. The number of apnea-hypopneas per hour is defined as the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). The higher the AHI, the more severe the disease. In addition, many parameters measured in the sleep test should be evaluated together and the severity of the disease should be decided as a result of detailed evaluation. Evaluation of the sleep test, analysis according to the patient's complaints, determination of the characteristics of sleep apnea, correct diagnosis and selection of the right treatment are extremely important and require experience.