Sleep Apnoea (Sleep Apnea) is a disorder that is characterised by pauses in your breathing during sleep.
Each pause can skip more than one breath until your spasm-reflex causes a jolting gasp. These episodes pf partial awakenings to open ypu airways can repeat for hours without you realising it, resulting in a fitful or restless sleep.
The condition can result is severe sleep deprivation and inadequate oxygenation of your blood. When the condition is untreated it can cause raised blood pressure and increased likelihood of heart disease.
Sleep Apnoea affects people of all ages and impacts approximately 10% of the population.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea
It can present as:
Frequent breathing silence due to pauses in breathing
Choking or gasping during sleep to get air into the lungs
Sudden awakening to restart breathing or waking up in a sweat
Daytime drowsiness and feeling unrefreshed in the morning
Falling asleep at inappropriate times
Causes of Sleep Apnoea
It may develop from the following:
Adult and childhood obesity
Large tonsils and adenoids
Nose and throat abnormalities
Structural or mechanical problems in the airway
Tongue and soft tissue sagging from medications or alcohol
Nasal congestion or blockage from colds, allergies or smoking
Self Help Relief for Sleep Apnoea
Minor sleep apnoea can be temporarily or permanently resolved by:
Stop using sedative, alcohol or tobacco
Sleeping on your side (for those who sleep on their back and causes problems)
Head elevation with pillows
Maintain regular sleep hours
Use a nasal inhaler, spray or nasal dilator
Treatment for Sleep Apnoea
It is important to seek an appropriate diagnosis; this can be conducted through your dentist. There are two types these are:
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea – treatment discussed further, and
Central Sleep Apnoea – caused by a central nervous system disorder
While people with Central Sleep Apnoea seldom snore they present similarly the treatment is not managed by this dentist. If your symptoms point to a dental problem there is a range of treatments, some are:
Use of a continuous positive airway pressure CPAP device which maintains an open airway by blowing air into the throat preventing collapse