Cause and Symptoms

What is Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a life-threatening condition that can be detected by loud snoring and breathing during sleep. Often, those affected do not notice it for a long time. If sleep apnea is suspected, medical consultation with a specialist is urgently needed to avoid serious health consequences such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart attack and stroke.

Cause of sleep apnea

What causes breathing stops and snoring

The tongue is anatomically attached to the lower jaw. If the lower jaw is too small and has not grown forward enough (retroposition of lower jaw), then the tongue also lies too far back and blocks the respiratory passages because of lack of space. This retroposition of the lower jaw can be recognised in the profile (see image, right), the chin lies too far back and a double chin often occurs. If the person affected sleeps on his/her back, the tongue falls back and blocks the respiratory passages like a cork.

Schematic anatomic representation of the problem of sleep apnoea: Already in the upright position, the respiratory (pharyngeal) airways are narrow, but clear. In the moment the patient undergoes immense physical strain, he does not get enough air or oxygen and feels he cannot perform at sports as others.

In the reclining sleeping position, the narrow respiratory airways are closed entirely by the tongue which sinks backwards, breathing stops, the oxygen levels in the blood drop, the entire organism suffers. The life expectancy of patients with sleep apnoea is known to be shorter. 

Typical symptoms

The patients are often also overweight, which aggravates the snoring. A small, receding chin and a double chin are other indications which can be easily seen in a profile view. Typical symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea are:

  • Loud snoring
  • Breathing stops
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of libido, impotence
  • Frequently, diabetes
  • Tiredness during the day
  • Fatigue
  • Falling asleep when driving, nodding off
  • Lack of concentration
  • Severe, irregular snoring with more than 10 breathing stops per hour
  • Lack of motivation, slowness and constant tiredness
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Restless sleep, often needing to go to the toilet, and night sweats

Sleep Apnea can be cured

By widening the respiratory passage using the operation technique “rotation advancement”, sleep apnoea can be cured permanently.