Sleep Apnoea: more common then you think.

Sleep Apnoea is a condition in which a person’s breathing stops momentarily during sleep. It’s caused by the muscles of the back of the throat and tongue collapsing during sleep and blocking the airways. Sound scary? It kind of is.

Breathing can stop for anywhere between 10 seconds or longer causing you to wake, gasp for breath, then fall back asleep. Often the cycle is continuous causing a fragmented sleep leading to fatigue.

In Australia, about one in four men over 30 will experience some degree of sleep apnoea. But the condition can be hereditary, so females are no immune. 

Typical symptoms of sleep apnoea include: snoring and holding the breath during sleep. Extreme fatigue and needing to sleep during the day are also symptoms. When it’s severe, the condition can lead to an increased risk of falling asleep while driving. Difficulty concentrating and feelings of irritability and depression may also result.

Various physical and lifestyle factors may lead to sleep apnoea. These include:

Being overweight – particularly if you carry weight around the neck

Drinking alcohol – especially in the evenings as it causes muscle relaxation

Smoking – all round, just bad

Taking sedatives

Having a receding lower jaw or enlarged tonsils

Having low levels of thyroid hormone

Having a blocked nose

To diagnose sleep apnoea, your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine you. You may be referred to specialist or sleep clinic where your sleep will be monitored.

Lifestyle changes, mouthguards, facial masks and surgical correction can all be used to treat this condition. And it is TREATABLE.

For more infomation, talk to your GP or check out Sleep Disorders Australia


About ebdentalgroup

Director & Dentist of East Bentleigh Dental Group
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