Do you constantly feel fatigued or agitated? Does your partner constantly complain about your snoring? It could be that you are one of over a million Australians who suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea.
What is sleep apnoea?
Obstructive sleep apnoea is a breathing disorder which occurs while you are asleep. It occurs when the muscles around your airway relax too much and allow your tongue to block the pharynx, causing either a partial or complete blockage of your airway. This blockage temporarily stops your breathing, and means there is less oxygen making its way into your body and your brain. The lack of oxygen is what kick-starts your brain, forcing you to stir so as to restart the breathing cycle. These blockages can range from 10 seconds to one minute in length. It’s highly likely that you will not realise you have woken, but as it can happen up to several hundred times in one night, you end up feeling tired and even grumpy during the day.
Sleep apnoea symptoms
Some of the common symptoms of sleep apnoea include, but are not limited to:
- Constant feeling of tiredness and lethargy during the day
- Sore throat and/or dry mouth on waking
- Inability to concentrate
- Headaches in the morning
- Difficulty losing weight
- Depression, anxiety and irritability
Sleep apnoea health risks
Sleep apnoea doesn’t just make you tired and grumpy; it has been linked to some really serious health conditions. According to SNORE Australia, these can include:
Obstructive sleep apnoea can contribute to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke, night-time angina, heart failure and high blood pressure.
Diabetes sufferers may be able to improve their diabetic control through the treatment of their obstructive sleep apnoea.
Due to obstructive sleep apnoea sufferers feeling excessively tired and the metabolic changes which come with this, it can make it particularly difficult for them to lose weight.
Untreated obstructive sleep apnoea can cause erectile dysfunction in males, and reduce the sex drive of both men and women.
How do you treat sleep apnoea?
While the CPAP machine is the best known treatment for obstructed sleep apnoea, many people find that it does not work for their circumstances. In recent years new devices known as Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) have revolutionised treatment for these people.
At The Dental Practice we have had great success in treating patients suffering from sleep apnoea with the SomnoMed MAS device. This compact and easy to use device fits over your teeth a little like a mouth guard, and then repositions your mouth to push the lower jaw forward slightly while you sleep. Through this, it’s able to ensure that your airway remains open, thereby stopping the blockage and allowing you and your partner to get a far better night’s sleep. Each SomnoMed MAS device is custom made to perfectly fit your mouth.
What should I do if I think I have sleep apnoea?
Thanks to their intimate knowledge of your mouth, a dentist with the right training is going to be your best port of call if you believe you might be suffering from sleep apnoea.
The Dental Practice in Burwood has extensive experience in treating obstructive sleep apnoea, and can help put you on the path to better sleep.