Jun 28, 2014
What is Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is where a sleeper stops breathing altogether for periods of up to 10 to 20 seconds only to resume breathing again spontaneously and usually with a gasp or choking sound. This may occur several times during the night while the sleeper is unaware of what’s happening.
Sleep apnoea is usually diagnosed by the sleeper’s room partner who has to wonder if the person will ever start breathing again. Sleep apnoea does carry a mortality rate and therefore must always be taken seriously. That aside, it causes chronic sleep deprivation and all the negative consequences of that.
Types of Sleep Apnoea:
There are three types of sleep apnoea.
• Obstructive. This is by far the commonest type of sleep apnoea. There is always a history of snoring. It is if you like a progression of snoring and is caused by many factors including obesity, deviated nasal septum, chronic rhinitis, nasal polyps, smoking and alcohol excess.
• Central. This is a lees common form of sleep apnoea and occurs in someone with no history of snoring or airways obstruction. It has to do with signals not getting through to the breathing centres in the brain.
• Complex. This is a combination of both of the above and again is rare.
Risk Factors Associated with Sleep Apnoea:
• Obesity or pot belly. Thick neck.
• Male over the age of 65.
• Family history and personal history of loud snoring.
• Smoking and excess alcohol.
• Nasal obstruction -- nasal polyps, chronic rhinitis, deviated nasal septum.
Diagnosis of Sleep Apnoea.
Sleep apnoea is usually diagnosed by the room partner of the person suffering from the condition. This unfortunate person may have their own sleep very disturbed as they lie there wondering if their partner will breathe again.
If you live alone, have some of the risk factors for sleep apnoea and suspect that you may have the condition then consider recording yourself while you sleep.
That aside, all sufferers of this condition will experience the negative effects of chronic sleep deprivation. These will include:
• Poor concentration and work performance.
• Tendency to fall asleep inappropriately during the day.
• Depression and irritability.
How to Cure or Manage Sleep Apnoea:
Self help. There are a number of things that you can do for yourself to ease or even cure your sleep apnoea. These include:
• Reduce your weight by even as little as 10% and get fit.
• Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake.
• If you take sedatives or sleeping pills try to wean yourself off of these.
Medical and surgical management.
• Clear your nasal airways with nasal sprays.
• Have surgery to straighten nasal septum, tighten soft pallet and remove nasal polyps.
• Be fitted with a Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) apparatus. These have improved enormously over the last few years. They are now light, comfortable and quiet and solve sleep apnoea allowing you to have a full night of quality sleep and be well and alert the next day.