The most common type of sleep apnoea is obstructive sleep apnoea. In this condition, the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. This causes shallow breathing or breathing pauses.

SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNOEA

  • Snoring
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Clumsiness
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Hypertension
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Impotence (men)

TYPES OF SLEEP APNOEA

  1. Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common type of sleep apnoea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway, often causing loud snoring.
  2. Central sleep apnoea is a much less common type of sleep apnoea that involves the central nervous system, occurring when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. People with central sleep apnoea seldom snore.
  3. Complex sleep apnoea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnoea and central sleep apnoea.

TREATING SLEEP APNOEA

There are several forms of treatment for sleep apnoea. In mild and moderate cases, weight loss and the use of mandibular advancement devices can be wholly successful. In moderate and severe cases, mandibular advancement device or nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) are normally prescribed. CPAP is the gold standard treatment for OSA.

COMPLICATIONS OF OSA

Poorly controlled OSA may also increase your risk of:

  • Developing high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Having a stroke or heart attack
  • Developing an irregular heartbeat– such as atrial fibrillation
  • Developing type 2 diabetes– although it’s unclear if this is the result of an underlying cause, such as obesity

APNOEA AND HYPOPNOEA

There are two types of breathing interruption characteristic of OSA:

  • Apnoea– where the muscles and soft tissues in the throat relax and collapse sufficiently to cause a total blockage of the airway; it’s called an apnoea when the airflow is blocked for 10 seconds or more
  • Hypopnoea– a partial blockage of the airway that results in an airflow reduction of greater than 50% for 10 seconds or more

SLEEP APNOEA IN CHILDREN

While obstructive sleep apnoea can be common in children, it’s not always easy to recognise. In addition to continuous loud snoring, children with sleep apnoea may:

  • Pause breathing while sleeping, snort, or gasp
  • Adopt strange sleeping positions
  • Suffer from bedwetting, excessive perspiration at night, or night terrors
  • Exhibit daytime sleepiness
  • Develop behavioural problems or declining grades

FAST FACTS:

  • 9% of middle-aged women and 25% of middle-aged men suffer from sleep apnoea.
  • People with sleep apnoea are at twice the risk of having a traffic accident
  • 93% men and 82% women in the USA suffer undiagnosed sleep apnoea, SA figures unavailable, but are believed to be similar
  • If a patient snores loudly, they may be a sleep apnoea sufferer. Left undiagnosed and untreated, this condition can negatively impact a person’s quality of life and work performance
  • As a result of OSA, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnoea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • The most common type of sleep apnoea is obstructive sleep apnoea. In this condition, the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. This causes shallow breathing or breathing pauses.
  • Sleep apnoea (AP-ne-ah) is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep