Snoring & Sleep Apnoea

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What is sleep apn(o)ea?

Sleep Apnea affects millions of people every year, but since it occurs at night while you sleep, people are unaware they are suffering and therefore goes undiagnosed. Signs and symptoms include unrefreshed sleep, daytime sleepiness, depression, morning headaches and going to the toilet frequently throughout the night. For many, gagging or gasping for air at times whilst sleeping or loud snoring is common.

Sleep Apnea results from the tongue and soft palate collapsing onto the back of the throat while you sleep. This obstructs the upper airway, causing airflow to be restricted or completely stop; often for more than 10 seconds at a time. Your brain signals the body that there is a lack of oxygen and adrenalin is released and you arouse, this is where you may gasp for breath. Your airway will open the obstruction in your throat clear and you will begin breathing again. This is an obstructive apnea; the process repeats itself over and over again through the night. In severe cases some people can lose breath for as much as 40 seconds over 60 times an hour.

The combination of low oxygen levels and consistent, disturbed, and interrupted sleep can causes the patient to feel exhausted throughout the day, but in some cases the patient does not even know how bad their sleep really is. It is vital that if you have any symptoms you have a sleep study to assess your risk of sleep disordered breathing; as the ill effects of Sleep Apnea can contribute to a host of very serious health concerns like cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack.

Sife Effects From Sleep Apnea

See below for more information

Types of sleep apnea.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – Is the most common sleep related breathing disorder, where the upper airway repeatedly collapses during sleep. During an obstructive breathing event, someone with OSA continues to breathe but cannot get enough air into the lungs because the upper airway becomes too narrow or closes completely, this is known as an obstructive apnea. The soft tissue in the back of the  throat or tongue base collapses and then obstructs your airway resulting in decreased oxygen intake.  The brain detects the oxygen deficiency which then leads to multiple momentary arousals to draw breath – profoundly interrupting your deep sleep.
  • Central Sleep Apnea – Is another condition where your airway does not become blocked, but instead your brain does not send the signal to your muscles to breathe. In this type we may need to refer you to a specialist.
  • Mixed Apnea – Is a combination of both central and obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you have mixed Sleep Apnea you may experience snoring, but you may find that treatments designed to help airway obstructions will not fully stop apnoeic episodes. Though your brain briefly arouses you in order for you to resume breathing, your sleep is constantly interrupted. This leaves you feeling fatigued the next day.

Who’s at risk?

Those that suffer an increased risk of suffering from Sleep Apnea are males who are moderately to severely overweight, and those over the age of 40. But almost anyone can suffer; even petite women and children. This potentially life threatening disease is a lot more common than generally expected and should be taken very seriously.

What are the signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

  • Tiredness/fatigue and irritability in the mornings and during the day
  • Snoring
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Frequently waking throughout the night to go to the toilet or get a drink
  • Regular Morning Headaches
  • Worn teeth caused by clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Poor memory
  • Reflux problems
  • Dark circles or bags under or around the eyes

Why is it so harmful?

Repetitive airway collapse can lead to large pressure fluctuations in the lungs and oxygen deficiency which places stress on the heart and cardiovascular system. Consequently in people with OSA, the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and cardiovascular mortality is increased as is diabetes. Therefore it’s imperative that once diagnosed with OSA you are adequately treated.

The strains on a person’s body from arousing over and over due to lack of oxygen, as much as 500 times a night; inhibit them from getting the refreshing sleep they need. Not only is OSA a major, often unrecognized, cause of daytime sleepiness, it can also be an associated risk factor for very serious medical conditions:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Disease (33% increase in cardiovascular disease)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Memory Impairment / loss
  • Poor Motor Skills

How do you get diagnosed?

Because Sleep Apnea occurs at night while you should be sleeping deeply, diagnosis isn’t as easy as a quick visit to your local GP or dentist.

There are a couple of options of where to have a sleep study performed . The gold standard is the in-lab hospital sleep study where your sleep will need to be monitored by a trained professional who will also use a series of highly specialised instruments to monitor your body through a night’s sleep. But for those patients who struggle to sleep in strange surroundings, there is a range of in home sleep study options.

Pymble Dental Loving Care offer you the ability to get tested in the comfort of your own home, the home sleep study monitors you while you sleep in your natural surroundings.  You’ll be monitored through the night with specialised sleep therapy equipment in the comfort of your home and bed.

Why should I have a sleep study?

It is imperative that you have a sleep study prior to being fitted with any sort of treatment for sleep disordered breathing. Even if you think you just snore, it is possible that you have some level of OSA and may need to see a specialist. Healthcare funds recognise this and will not give any rebate for any treatment of sleep disordered breathing snoring or OSA unless the patient has had a full sleep study which has been analysed by a Sleep Physician.

Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment Solutions

If you or a loved one snores, the problem can be more than just a social embarrassment. Historically those who were afflicted with the condition were left to live out their restless lives without a treatment solution. There are many non-surgical alternatives to traditional snoring and Sleep Apnea therapies.  Sleep disorders, if left untreated, can result in a host of serious negative side effects to your overall health and mental well-being.

Epworth Sleepiness score chart and stop bang questionnaire

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Dental Devices

For those who suffer with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea, treatment may be a dental device such as a mandibular advancement device or COAT continuous open airway therapy. We recommend SomnoDent, as it is clinically proven and effective for treating mild to moderate Sleep Apnea. This device is worn while you sleep and works to open your airway by bringing the lower jaw, tongue and associated soft tissue forward stopping it from collapsing during sleep. It keeps your airway open and thus reduces or eliminates the snoring and apnea events.

When considering this form of Snoring/Sleep Apnea treatment it is very important to get a consultation and be fitted in an accredited dental clinic with advanced training in sleep apnea, and to return for regular visits to prevent any dental problems from occur occurring. The appliances may also need periodic adjustments to help secure a better fit and ensure optimal efficiency.

Surgical Options

For extreme cases, Sleep Apnea can also be treated surgically. Currently the costs and success rates associated with surgery can differ considerably, and success is not guaranteed. Speak with us and research your options carefully before going through any lengthy, painful, and costly procedures.

Don’t wait to start getting help

If you think you or a loved one currently suffers from Sleep Apnea or any other sleep condition and would like advice or to receive snoring treatments at Dental loving care, please call us immediately at 9144 1746 or use the form to contact us.

If tolerated CPAP therapy offers a considerable boost to energy levels in the day for most patients, while also boosting their overall health. For the most effective treatment, your CPAP device must be used whenever you sleep, even for short naps. This is a non-invasive form of therapy and is a safe and very effective treatment. New CPAP devices are lighter, quieter, and more enjoyable to use, so if you’ve previously tried a machine in the past but gave up on treatment due to discomfort, call us to see what advancements have been made.

When considering this form of Snoring/Sleep Apnea treatment it is very important to get a consultation and be fitted in an accredited dental clinic with advanced training in sleep apnea, and to return for regular visits to prevent any dental problems from occur occurring. The appliances may also need periodic adjustments to help secure a better fit and ensure optimal efficiency.

About CPAP

For patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea the most common treatment is Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP). This is a device that involves a mask, tubes and a fan. The devise uses air pressure to maintain an open airway whereby the continuous motion enables air to pass unobstructed through the airway, resulting in diminished obstructions of the airway throughout your sleep. Due to patients having to wear a mask and the continuous air pressure throughout the night many patients cannot tolerate CPAP.

If tolerated CPAP therapy offers a considerable boost to energy levels in the day for most patients, while also boosting their overall health. For the most effective treatment, your CPAP device must be used whenever you sleep, even for short naps. This is a non-invasive form of therapy and is a safe and very effective treatment. New CPAP devices are lighter, quieter, and more enjoyable to use, so if you’ve previously tried a machine in the past but gave up on treatment due to discomfort, call us to see what advancements have been made.

When considering this form of Snoring/Sleep Apnea treatment it is very important to get a consultation and be fitted in an accredited dental clinic with advanced training in sleep apnea, and to return for regular visits to prevent any dental problems from occur occurring. The appliances may also need periodic adjustments to help secure a better fit and ensure optimal efficiency.