Sleep Apnea Syndrome (SAS) describes people who stop breathing while they are asleep and then suddenly start breathing again. It is thought to affect up to 5% of people in Europe.
In adults, the cause is muscular. During sleep, the larynx relaxes so completely that it blocks the airway, preventing the person from breathing.
Prof. Damien Léger, in charge at the Centre du sommeil de l’Hôtel-Dieu in Paris, explained: “Each time the breathing stops, oxygen levels in the blood drop, and the person wakes up and that means their sleep is disturbed.”
Various factors aggravate this condition: obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
One solution to the problem is to use a breathing machine every night. The risks of SAS are serious. It can lead to strokes, head-aches and chronic fatigue and it doesn’t only affect adults. Two percent of children are also affected, leading to sleepless nights not only for these youngsters but also for their anxious parents.
In children, removing the tonsils can sometimes solve the problem. Talia had her tonsils removed and already she’s feeling much better.