What is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)?
Obstructive sleep apnoea is a sleep disorder which can stop you getting restful sleep. This can have a significant effect on quality of life. The good news is that treatments are available.
Mild OSA is common, affecting up to one in five adults. One in fifteen have what’s classed as moderate OSA.
OSA happens when the soft tissues at the back of the throat temporarily block the airway. This affects breathing and disrupts normal sleep patterns.
What are the effects of OSA?
The effect of good sleep on your overall health can’t be overstated. OSA is associated with a series of health and social issues, so it’s important to identify the problem and find solutions.
Some of the problems OSA is associated with are:
- Arrhythmia (the heart not beating normally)
- Heart failure
- An increased risk of motor vehicle incidents
What’s central sleep apnoea (CSA)?
CSA is much less common than OSA. CSA causes breathing to stop for a short period of time and then restart. This happens repeatedly and is caused by the brain failing to send or receive a signal to the muscles of the chest that control breathing.
CSA shares many signs and symptoms with OSA but people with CSA tend not to snore loudly.
What can cause CSA?
There are a number of factors that can cause or contribute to CSA including:
- Reduced heart function
- Some medications (i.e. narcotics)
- Muscle weakness
- The brain being too slow to respond to changes in oxygen levels in the blood
What does Sleep Apnoea have to do with heart disease?
Many heart disorders such as high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure are more frequent and more difficult to control in people with sleep apnoea. Untreated sleep apnoea increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Sleep Apoea and pregnancy
A sleep physicians review of OSA in pregnancy is recommended due to the complexity, clinical changes and regular follow-up needed for pregnant women. Find out more about OSA and pregnancy.
What are the symptoms that point to OSA?
There are some symptoms that might indicate you’re being affected by OSA. These include:
Choking or gasping during sleep
Increased frequency of urination during the night
Poor memory or concentration
Dry mouth upon waking
If you suspect you or a family member may have OSA, please contact us or ask your GP for a referral to your GenesisCare sleep clinic.