Sleep Apnoea and Snoring

Do you think you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea? Do you snore?

If you answered yes, you know how annoying snoring can be. But snoring can be more than an annoyance. It can be a sign of an Obstructive Breathing Disorder.

The real indication of Sleep Apnoea isn’t snoring. It is when your snoring stops. When the snoring stops, often your breathing does also. Sleep apnoea can cause a person to stop breathing for periods of time, sometimes hundreds of times during the night, and often for a minute or longer. This cessation of breathing can cause a variety of problems.

If you have any of the following symptoms you may have a sleep or breathing disorder:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Morning headache
  • Irritability
  • Impaired memory and judgement
  • Mood disturbance

Many people have sleep disorders and many of those have a breathing component called Obstructive Breathing Disorder or Sleep Apnoea.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat while you’re asleep. This blocks the upper airway, causing airflow to stop. When the oxygen level drops low enough, the brain moves out of deep sleep and you partially awaken. The airway then contracts and opens, causing the obstruction in the throat to clear. The flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. When the airflow starts again, you move back into a deep sleep. Then the process repeats. Over and over and over. Often the body suffers severe oxygen depletion time and time again throughout these cycles.

The combination of low oxygen levels and disturbed, interrupted sleep is the major contributors to most of the ill effects that the Sleep Apnoea patient suffers.

Sleep apnoea patients are more likely to suffer from:

  • Heart problems (heart attack, congestive heart failure, hypertension)
  • Strokes
  • Obesity or overweight
  • A higher incidence of work related and driving related accidents
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Generalised inflammation
  • Bruxing (teeth grinding – which by itself can be a sleepdisorder).

Left untreated, in severe cases, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can shorten the average life span by 10 years and even cause sudden death.

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is primarily treated with a CPAP (continuing positive airway pressure ) machine. This can be both uncomfortable and inconvenient. It is commonly a mask, worn over the face or nose attached to a hose of forced air provided by a machine. During sleep the throat and tongue relaxes, allowing these structures to collapse against one another and obstruct clear airflow.

In certain cases, a custom adjustable oral appliance can be used to treat sleep apnoea. It functions by gently and safely holding the jaw and tongue forward to help open the throat during relaxed sleep and thus can prevent snoring. It helps prevent the tongue and soft tissues of the throat from collapsing into the airway.

Don’t put your health at risk because of CPAP intolerance or worse the lack of diagnosis.

Call us on  (08) 9380 4700 on to arrange a consultation for an assessment.