We all know someone who is renowned for being a loud snorer, but when does this cross the line, to be a health complaint?
Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with Sleep Apnea will stop breathing hundreds of times during the night, which can mean the body and brain aren’t getting enough oxygen.
During a Sleep Apnea episode, the lack of oxygen can trigger your brain to pull out of a deep sleep, so your airways reopen, giving you a chance to breathe properly.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- Loud snoring
- Noisy and laboured breathing
- Repeated short periods, where breathing is interrupted by gasping or snorting
- Some people may also experience night sweats and get up frequently during the night to urinate
- Being overweight; excessive amounts of body fat can lead to a build up of soft tissue in the neck, it can also lead to breathing problems, which can make OSA worse
- Being male; OSA is more common in males than females
- Being 40+; OSA can occur at any age but is known to be more common in adults over 40+
- Talking medicines with sedative effects; sleeping tablets, or tranquilisers
- Drinking alcohol, can make snoring and Sleep Apnea worse
- Smoking makes you more likely to develop Sleep Apnea
If you feel you have symptoms of Sleep Apnea, here are somethings the NHS suggests to help treat it:
Sleep Apnea Treatments
- Change your lifestyle; losing weight, cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking
- Using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device these devices prevent your airway closing whilst sleeping and can be prescribed by a your doctor
- Wearing a MAD (mandibular advancement device) this is a gum shield that fits around your teeth increasing the space at the back of your throat whilst you sleep
- Surgery may also be an option if OSA is the result of a physical problem that can be corrected surgically
It’s not always possible to prevent OSA, if you feel unsure about your symptoms or want more advice go see your GP, they can also arrange an assessment of your sleep to be carried out in a local sleep centre.
Click here to view our other sleep issues blog posts.