Are you sleepy during the day, and tired all the time? Waking up unrefreshed and with headaches? Is your snoring loud and keeping your partner up? You might have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a sleep condition characterized by episodes of ‘apnoea’ during sleep. It is most common in men over the age of 30, of which one in four is estimated to be affected, though it can occur in any age group, male or female. During episodes of apnoea, a person’s breathing is reduced or may even stop. When this occurs, oxygen levels fall and sleep is disrupted. The person wakes briefly but often falls straights back to sleep and as a result does not realize that these episodes are occurring. Partners may notice the person chokes, coughs and gags during the episodes. As these episodes may occur anything upwards of tens of times per hour during sleep, the person wakes feeling unrefreshed and remains tired and sleepy during the day.
What are the more serious consequences of OSA?
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea also has other more serious consequences – it affects a person’s mood, increasing their risk of depression and anxiety. It affects relationships due to snoring, mood problems and a lack of sleep. There is also an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) and those with sleep apnoea are four times more likely to have motor vehicle accidents than others due to ‘microsleeps’.
How is OSA diagnosed?
Diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can be achieved by speaking with your doctor, who may order a diagnostic sleep study for you. Diagnostic sleep studies are non invasive, and can be performed in hospital or at home. Both private and bulk billed sleep studies may be available. Once the sleep study has been completed, your doctor will be able to advise you on whether you have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, and the best way to manage the condition.
If you suspect you or your partner may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, please book an appointment with our doctors online or by calling 07 3267 5088 to speak to one of our friendly receptionist.
Otherwise if you are unsure – try our online Epworth Sleepiness Scale Test, which gives a measure of how sleepy you are during the day, and whether you may have an underlying sleep disorder.