What is Sleep Apnoea

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Snoring and Sleep ApnoeaSleep Apnoea is a condition of the respiratory system in which the throat narrows or closes and repeatedly interrupts a person`s breathing whilst they are sleeping.

When this happens the sufferers oxygen level in their blood decreases. The difficulty in breathing will wake the sufferer up which in turn results in a poor quality of sleep.

These difficulties can occur hundreds of times during the night and can lead to severe tiredness the next day.

The symptoms of Sleep Apnoea

It is unlikely you will know about your difficulties breathing whilst you are sleeping. Your partner or member of your family may have noticed this though.

You may become aware of your Sleep Apnoea because of the additional issues it can cause, such as extreme tiredness the next day.

Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea

  • Impaired concentration
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Breathing issues during the night.
  • Loss of libido
  • Unrefreshing and restless sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or irritability
  • Frequent toilet trips overnight
  • Snoring

Men aged between 30 to 65 who are also overweight are most commonly affected. In women Sleep Apnoea is less common. This may because there is less awareness of the issue.

Sleep Apnoea can also affect children.

The Health Risks of Sleep Apnoea

If your Sleep Apnoea is left untreated it could lead to the following: –

  • Diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High Blood Pressure

According to the BTS sufferers of sleep Apnoea are 7 to 12 times more likely to be involved in a road accident when compared to people who do not have the condition.

Tests have shown that Sleep Apnoea sufferers perform worse than drivers who have blood alcohol levels over the legal limit.

How is sleep Apnoea Diagnosed?

In most cases Sleep Apnoea sufferers can be diagnosed at home using a recorder worn overnight whilst you are in bed.

These recorders work by measuring just the level of oxygen in your blood, or heart rate and breathing efforts or snoring plus the oxygen level. These are measured using sensors on the finger as well as around the body.

When your are diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea, it is likely you will be prescribed with continuous Positive airways pressure, or CPAP.

You will wear a mask over your nose and mouth, with a machine regulating the pressure of the air breathed in. This prevents the airway collapsing whilst you are sleeping.

The results from CPAP are good. Because CPAP works to control your Sleep Apnoea, the quality of your sleep improves. As a result you wake up feeling more refreshed and are more alert throughout the day.

CPAP also suppresses snoring, which can help your partner sleep better if your snoring has been a problem for them in the past.

A small number of people may find CPAP uncomfortable to use.


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