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Sleep Apnoea and Snoring

THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE DON’T REALISE THEIR SNORING CAN LEAD TO BIGGER AND MORE SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES

Sleep apnoea occurs when there is a lack of oxygen passing through from the lungs to the brain. The sleeper will awaken, to open up the airway by snorting or gasping, and quickly fall back to sleep.

Often people suffering sleep apnoea don’t realise they are awakening to do this, so unfortunately it can happen numerous times during the night.

It is estimated that about 5% of Australians suffer from this condition and are unaware of it.

sleep

Indications of sleep apnoea

  • bullet Snoring
  • bullet Restless sleep
  • bullet Sleepiness during the day
  • bullet Irritability and mood swings
  • bullet Waking up often during sleep
  • bullet Unrefreshed in the morning

Oral appliance therapy is often used when the patient is unable to tolerate CPAP therapy. It has been proven very effective for snoring and those suffering mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea. Oral appliance therapy may also be used in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnoea who are unable to tolerate or refuse CPAP therapy.

1) ORAL APPLIANCE THERAPY

There are two types of oral appliance therapy:

Mandibular Advancement Device

The most common type of oral appliance used.

They are also known as Mandibular Advancement Splint or Mandibular Repositioning Device.

Tongue Retaining/Stabilising Device

Engages and holds the tongue in a forward position by means of a suction bulb, without affecting the mandible or teeth.

When the tongue is in a forward position, it prevents the back of the tongue from collapsing during sleep and obstructing the airway in the throat. Tongue retaining/stabilising devices are non-adjustable.

2) LIFESTYLE AND BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES

  • bullet Exercise
  • bullet Weight loss
  • bullet Good sleep hygiene (e.g. have a regular sleeping pattern, avoid caffeine and eating large meals late at night)
  • bullet Sleep position – sleeping on the side is beneficial
  • bullet Avoid sedatives and tranquilisers such as sleeping pills
  • bullet Avoid alcohol
  • bullet Avoid smoking
snoring

HOW COMMON IS SNORING?

Snoring is common, with approximately 40% of men and 30% of women affected. Snoring occurs in all age groups but is most common in the middle-aged population.

In children, large tonsils and adenoids are a common cause of snoring.

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WHAT CONTRIBUTES TO SNORING?

  • bullet Obesity
  • bullet Alcohol and sedative use
  • bullet Nasal congestion
  • bullet Breathing through the mouth
  • bullet Sleeping on your back
  • bullet Allergies and hay fever
  • bullet Smoking
  • bullet Abnormality of the upper airway or orofacial structures

HOW SERIOUS IS SNORING?

While snoring can be harmless in the short-term, it can also develop into or be a symptom of a more serious medical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.

Snoring is also a major lifestyle and social problem for partners and families. Snoring deprives both the sufferer and their bed partner of good sleep, which has consequences for daytime functioning. A snoring partner may be forced to sleep in a separate room.

Snoring in children may be a sign of poor oxygen levels, which results in the body constantly waking up, leading to poor quality or restless sleep. This can lead to a lack of concentration at school, or poor energy and stamina level. Sometimes, it can also contribute to, or be misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The symptoms of sleep apnoea include:

  • bullet Loud or frequent snoring
  • bullet Choking or gasping while you sleep
  • bullet Pauses in breathing
  • bullet Morning headaches
  • bullet Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • bullet Insomnia due to difficulty staying asleep
  • bullet Waking up with dry mouth or a sore throat
  • bullet Frequent need to urinate during the night
  • bullet Trouble concentrating
  • bullet Memory or learning problems
  • bullet Moodiness, irritability or depression