Sleep disorders are common among Australian adults, with 2 in every 10 experiencing snoring. Some snoring can be harmless, whilst for others it may indicate a more serious medical condition called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)
Obstructive sleep apnoea can cause interruptions to your breathing during sleep. These interruptions can last from 10 seconds to 2 minutes. If a person is to have 5 partial or complete obstructions per hour, this classifies as OSA. Usually, the person isn’t disturbed from these interruptions but finds they do not have a restful sleep.
It is recommended that those who snore be assessed by a respiratory sleep-disorder physician.
During sleep the throat muscles relax which then narrows the airway. In some cases the muscles relax too much or collapse and reduces or blocks the airway. When this happens, the person attempts to breathe harder and causes further airway collapse. While this is happening the oxygen levels in the blood drop. The brain senses this and briefly wakes you to reopen the airway. These wakings are usually so quick that you don’t remember them.
Obstructive sleep apnoea is normally noticed by the person snoring loudly. Other signs or symptoms might be:
- tiredness on waking
- excessive daytime sleepiness
- choking or gasping during sleep
- sore, dry throat on waking
- morning headache
- poor concentration
- memory deterioration
There are factors that can increase your risk of obstructive sleep apnoea. These risk factors include being overweight, older/age, alcohol, smoking, and family history.
Diagnosis and treatment
To provide the most effective treatment for sleep apnoea an accurate diagnosis is crucial. A sleep study will identify whether you have sleep apnoea and its severity.
Once the severity of the sleep apnoea is established, we can determine the best course of treatment.
For mild to moderate cases, you can be easily treated with a custom-made night guard (splint) which we can provide here at Central Dental. These are a special type of nightguard which bring the lower jaw forward and the tongue forward and help lift up the soft palate, thus allowing the airway to open.
Think you might have sleep apnoea?
Contact our friendly staff today to book your consultation. Call us on (07) 3343 2100 or book your next appointment online.