Sleeping next to Mr ITC can be a challenge. This is a man who could wake the neighbours with his snoring. ITC is sure he has sleep apnoea. We asked Apple Dental to explain to us what might be causing his snoring.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a condition whereby the tongue and the soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat during sleep, causing obstruction to the airway and either restricted or completely impeded airflow for more than 10 seconds at a time. In severe cases people may stop breathing for as much as 40 seconds, over 60 times an hour. Patients often wake up to 500 times per night. The resulting low oxygen levels, constant stress response involved in gasping for air and lack of quality regenerative sleep causes various negative effects.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of OSA include snoring, waking unrefreshed, daytime sleepiness, depression, regular morning headaches, frequent waking for a drink or the toilet, bags under the eyes, reflux, worn and damaged teeth from teeth grinding and poor memory retention.
OSA is very common, but because it occurs during sleep, patients are often unaware that it is happening. Left untreated, sleep apnoea can contribute to various chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, immune deficiency, depression, memory impairment, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. The rate of heart disease is 33% higher in OSA patients. Sleep apnoea has also recently been linked with a higher rate of cancer death.
Who is at Risk?
Being overweight is a major contributor to OSA due to fat deposits in the neck making it easier for the airways to become obstructed. Males over 40 are also at increased risk. Since it is a physical condition, OSA can however affect anybody, at any age or in any weight range.
What is the management?
If you suspect you may have OSA based on the signs and symptoms, the best course of action is to arrange a sleep study. At Apple Dental, we refer patients to a specialist sleep medicine facility where patients are consulted and given a sleep study. This can either be a home test or a lab test. Once the results are interpreted by a specialist sleep physician, appropriate treatment is recommended.
In the case of severe OSA, patients are usually given a CPAP machine to wear through the night. This pushes air through the nasal cavity and stops the airway from closing.
Surgery is also possible in severe cases to modify the shape of the soft palate or even the tongue.
In mild to moderate cases, treatment can be effective using an MAS (mandibular advancement splint) device. This is an oral appliance which is designed to posture the lower jaw forward during sleep, thereby opening the airway by reducing the possibility of the tongue and soft palate collapsing against the throat. At Apple Dental we have routinely provided patients with the SomnoDent appliance, which has produced excellent, life-changing results.
Apple Dental is proudly locally owned and operated with a high proportion of local residents within the team. With no corporate or health insurance ties there is no shareholder or contractual pressure to consider cutting on expenses or driving up profits. The focus is purely on patient care and quality clinical outcomes.
Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at [email protected]
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