Sleep apnoea is a serious health concern that can affect both children and adults
Sleep apnoea is more than just feeling tired or sleepy during the day. It is a serious medical condition which can impact your quality of life and your health. Research has indicated that sleep apnoea (also spelt apnea) is associated with other serious medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
What is sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is when you either completely stop breathing, or when your breathing is severely restricted. These can occur hundreds of times a night. Each time you stop breathing your body is starved of oxygen and carbon dioxide is increased in your blood. When you stop breathing your body wakes in order to kick start your breathing again.
We say your body because you may still be asleep. It just isn’t the deep restful sleep your body needs to recover. Which is one of the reasons why suffers of sleep apnoea wake up tired in the morning.
What are the symptoms sleep apnoea?
There are five main symptoms of sleep apnoea. If you are suffering from any combination of these symptoms you may have sleep apnoea and should book an appointment with Dream Smiles.
Five sleep apnoea symptoms are:
- Morning headaches
- Waking up tired
- Falling asleep during the day
The three types of sleep apnoea
When asked, many people may have heard of obstructive sleep apnoea, but there are actually 3 different types of sleep apnoea:
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Central sleep apnoea
- Mixed sleep apnoea aka complex sleep apnoea
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)
The most common form of sleep apnoea, OSA is believed to affect 2% of women and 4% of men. And of all those who suffer from sleep apnoea only 10% actively seek treatment. This means so many suffers of OSA go through life not knowing there’s a solution to their problems.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea
If you have mild OSA you will experience around 5 to 14 episodes of interrupted breathing per hour. Moderate OSA sufferers will—on a typical night—experience 15 to 30 episodes of interrupted breathing per hour. And severe OSA sufferers can experience over 30 interruptions per hour.
The causes and risks associated with OSA
People who are overweight or obese are more prone to suffering sleep apnoea. This is because excessive fatty tissue that becomes built up in the neck and throat often causes sleep apnoea. The excessive fatty tissue creates a restriction in airflow as the respiratory pathway is pinched off or narrowed during sleep.
As we age our muscles begin to lose muscle tone. As your throat muscles lose definition they become weaker are likely to collapse during sleep. Frequent alcohol consumption, and smoking can also contribute to obstructive sleep apnoea.
Treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea
The severity of your OSA will determine which treatment is used to treat your symptoms. Both surgical and non-surgical options are available. From the traditional CPAP machines through to other types of oral appliances and surgical treatments—an assessment of your health will better determine which is right for you.
Central sleep apnoea (CSA)
Less common than obstructive sleep apnoea, CSA affects roughly 20% of all apnoea sufferers. CSA is usually caused by conditions which affect your brainstem and medical problems.
Symptoms of central sleep apnoea
Symptoms of CSA include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
The causes which can lead to CSA
Some of the causes that can lead to CSA include:
- Heart failure
- Parkinson’s disease
- Narcotic painkillers.
Treatment for central sleep apnoea
Ideally, treatment for CSA begins by treating whichever underlying condition causes CSA. After that, treatment is similar to OSA. There are nonsurgical options like CPAP and medication.
Mixed (complex) sleep apnoea
Mixed sleep apnoea is a combination of OSA and CSA, often discovered during treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. Before 2006 this phenomena was unknown outside of sleep labs. Then the Mayo Clinic conducted a study which found 15% of OSA suffers in fact had mixed sleep apnoea.
Treatment for mixed sleep apnoea
Medically speaking mixed sleep apnoea is still fairly new. Which is another way of saying there is no definite treatment for mixed sleep apnoea yet. At the moment either a CPAP or BiPAP machine is your best bet for successful treatment.
Is sleep apnoea dangerous?
Sleep apnoea puts you at a higher risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. If you have sleep apnoea you are five times more likely to have a car crash than a normal person. This is backed up by research which says driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk.
Sleep Apnoea diagnosis and treatment in Brisbane
If you are exhibiting any of the above symptoms, or would like more information, request a consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sleep apnoea is a serious sleep disorder characterised by pauses in breathing during sleep. It can lead to decreased oxygen levels in the blood and has potential risks and complications. These include daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, obesity, and mental health issues. It is important to consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Sleep apnoea cannot be cured, but it can be effectively managed. Treatment options include CPAP therapy, oral appliances, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Compliance, regular follow-ups, and adjustments are important for long-term management. Treatment can significantly improve symptoms and overall health. Sleep apnoea is a chronic condition requiring ongoing management.
Treatment for sleep apnoea varies. CPAP therapy is often effective for obstructive sleep apnoea. Oral appliances can help in mild to moderate cases or for those who can’t tolerate CPAP. Surgery may be considered for anatomical abnormalities. Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, can also help. Consultation with a healthcare professional is crucial for determining the best treatment. Compliance and follow-up are essential for success.