interview with dr Hanane Laârej: “Sleep Disorders Can Have Significant Socio-Economic Impacts”

How do sleep-related breathing disorders manifest themselves in adults and children?
Sleep-related breathing disorders can essentially be divided into apneas and hypopneas, ie a complete or partial interruption of the respiratory flow during sleep within a few seconds, which can be repeated several times during the night.

These dangerous phenomena, mostly imperceptible, have a direct impact on the brain, which does not go into deep sleep, known as restorative sleep, causing fatigue and drowsiness during the day with impaired alertness, as well as on the cardiovascular system, which controls the can be the cause of serious complications such as high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias or cerebrovascular accidents (CVA). The main causes are obesity and upper airway abnormalities, which can become narrow and congested during sleep.

It has recently been discovered that sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome can also affect children, with different symptoms than adults. Major causes include hypertrophied tonsils, particularly in patients with recurrent angina, polyps, and jaw development anomalies. If the sleep apnea syndrome leads to excessive daytime sleepiness in adults, it can manifest itself in children as hyperactivity and poor concentration at school, consequences of worsening sleep. Early detection will therefore make it possible to treat the child better and thus avoid these negative effects on his development and schooling.

What are the consequences of this pathology in the workplace?
Serious accidents on public roads or at work can be caused by lack of alertness and daytime sleepiness. These can also reduce the person’s productivity and have significant socioeconomic effects, not to mention depressive disorders, irritability and anxiety that can affect the quality of life of people affected by this disease. We need to go to a specialist as soon as we notice snoring during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, patients who feel that they have not slept enough despite having slept through the night.

Is there a way to invite companies to screen their employees?
As a matter of fact. Companies need to organize mass screenings because they can monitor the health of their employees and promote productivity gains by avoiding sick leave. These screenings allow us to collect symptoms that allow us to provide scores for the person’s excessive daytime sleepiness and possible sleep-disordered breathing.

We will then take polygraphic or polysomnographic recordings, which will detail in a very objective way whether the patient has apneas, hypopneas with a drop in blood oxygen saturation during sleep, but also analyze these sleep cycles to assess their quality.

Interviewed by IT

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