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Sleep Apnoea: The Definitive Guide to Everything You Need to Know

  • May 5, 2016
  • By Grace
Sleep Apnoea: The Definitive Guide to Everything You Need to Know

Sleep apnoea causes the sufferer’s airways to be blocked, hindering your breathing. In medical terms, it means your airflow is hindered by at least 10 seconds. Technically, there are two kinds of sleep apnoea, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA).

CSA is ordinarily triggered by a medical issue that affects your brain’s ability to signal the muscles needed for breathing. This type affects less than 10% of all apnoea sufferers. OSA, which affects 90 to 96% of sufferers, is triggered by a blockage while you’re sleeping, causing reduced airflow.

Most adults need a good 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep to function well throughout the day and sleep apnoea hinders that. This condition causes many debilitating symptoms both during sleep and during the day:


Night time Symptoms

  • Snoring – The most common symptom and often the most annoying since loud and constant snoring may wake both you and your partner.
  • Choking/Gasping – As your airways are blocked and your airflow is reduced, you may awaken gasping for air. Often, you’ll experience several of these episodes a night.
  • Frequent urination – Sufferers experience restless sleep and wake up during the night.

Daytime Symptoms

  • Daytime sleepiness – Due to restlessness, you’ll feel overtired which may affect your job productivity or concentration and awareness which become dangerous on the road.
  • Morning headaches – Many sufferers complain of headaches because of not getting enough sleep.
  • Dry Mouth – Many OSA sufferers breathe through their mouth and, because of the irregular breathing, wake up with a dry/scratchy throat.
  • Mood imbalance – Many sufferers deal with depression and isolate themselves from others.

In order to analyze if you have sleep apnoea, it’s important to schedule a sleep apnoea test or an overnight sleep study so you can take the next steps. A sleep study measures how your body responds to different issues, as well as how well you sleep in general. The actual study occurs in a clinic generally, in a room similar to a hotel room so that you are comfortable. You’re encouraged to wear your favourite comfortable pyjamas or bring a soft pillow.

The sleep study or polysomnogram (PSG) uses multiple devices to measure and record your sleep patterns, such as your brain waves, if you snore, breathing patterns, and your eye, chin, and limb movements. The sleep technician will analyze and have your results within a few weeks so that if you do have sleep apnoea, you can formulate a plan.


Treating Sleep Apnoea

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnoea, it’s important that you seek treatment, not only to improve the quality of your sleep, but to reduce your cardiovascular health. Basically, you have two treatment options. The traditional treatment option, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), requires you to wear a face mask which is hooked up to a machine that pumps pressurized air into your airways. Recently, a newer option has evolved–Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) are similar to a dental appliance and change the position of your bottom jaw so your airway won’t collapse.

If you’re interested in hearing more about dental appliances, contact a Sound Sleeper dentist. They can work with your sleep specialist to formulate your personalized treatment plan.


By Grace, May 5, 2016
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