What is OSA?
Obstructive sleep apnoea is when there is partial or complete blockage of airflow through your upper part of their airway in the throat. This can occur repeatedly many times during the night. This causes disruption to your sleep quality and reductions in your blood oxygen levels.
What Causes OSA?
OSA can occur in people of all ages, although it is most common in men over the age of 65. Being overweight is the most common cause for OSA. Fatty tissue in the neck leads to greater pressure on the airway, often resulting in excessive snoring and OSA.. However, not all people with sleep apnoea are overweight. Anatomical problems such as enlarged tonsils and adenoids, the structure of your jaw and a family history of OSA can also contribute.
What are the symptoms of OSA?
The main symptom you may experience with OSA is sleepiness during the day. daisThis is due to poor quality or fragmented sleep.
During the night, symptoms of OSA you may experience include:
- Loud snoring to the point that it bothers others in the household
- Waking unrefreshed and still feeling sleepy
- A feeling of choking or gasping in your sleep
- Others may notice pauses in your breathing
- Waking frequently often needing to go to the toilet
- Waking with a dry mouth, headache or jaw pain
Some people also experience poor memory and concentration or depression.
Is OSA dangerous?
Untreated severe OSA can increase your risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents due to your reduced reaction time.When OSA is severe it can also contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and stroke. Depression is common in people with OSA and often improves when OSA is treated.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused when your airway narrows during sleep and causes a vibration during breathing. You can snore without having OSA.
Is snoring bad for you?
Snoring can be disruptive to the sleep of your bed partner. Snoring can also cause you to feel self conscious when travelling and sharing a room with others. However, snoring in the absence of sleep apnoea is less likely to affect your sleep quality or overall health. However, children who snore, need treatment as this can affect their performance at school.
What tests are there for snoring and OSA?
An overnight sleep study is the best way to diagnose whether you have obstructive sleep apnoea. This can be performed at home or as an overnight stay in a specialised sleep unit in hospital.
How is snoring and OSA treated?
- Weight loss
- Avoiding sleeping on your back – snoring and OSA is often worse sleeping on your back
- Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP) – A mask worn at night which provides air pressure to splint your airway open. This is the most effective treatment, especially when OSA is severe. However, some people do not like CPAP, so there are other options. We will not force you to use CPAP if it does not help you and make you feel better.
- Mouth guard or mandibular advancement splint (MAS) – When fitted by a dentist with the specific expertise, a MAS can be very effective, especially for milder forms of OSA
- Surgery for snoring and OSA – There are some surgeries which can treat OSA but they are not suitable for everyone. We are able to advise you if surgery may be beneficial for you.
How Can We Help You?
The specialists at Lung and Sleep will perform a detailed assessment of your sleep, along with a comprehensive medical consultation. This will usually involve arranging a sleep study to assess the quality of your sleep. This will determine whether you have OSA or any other sleep disorders. Your specialist will be able to help determine whether a hospital or home based sleep study is most appropriate for you.
We individualise the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. The most effective and suitable treatment depends on a number of factors, including severity, your symptoms, effect on sleep, your medical history and whether there is an underlying cause.
Our specialists are also able to help you lose weight if that is necessary. We take a low-carb approach as this is the most effective and sustainable weight loss strategy.