Snoring and Sleep Apnoea

20 Feb 2017

Snoring and Sleep Apnoea

I have sleep apnoea, which is probably why I like helping other people who have it.

Patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) have repeated episodes of partial or complete obstruction of the throat (also known as “pharynx” or “upper airway”) during sleep. A narrow floppy throat is also more likely to vibrate during sleep, which causes snoring. There are 4 main ways to treat snoring and sleep apnoea:

  1. Lose Weight. Sleep apnoea gets worse with weight and age. It’s hard to make yourself younger, but it is possible to make yourself lighter. This approach has a number of changes. Firstly, if people could easily lose weight they would. Having sleep apnoea makes it harder to lose weight (because growth hormone helps burn fat, but less growth hormone is produced by people with sleep apnoea-it’s a mean Catch 22). Secondly, skinny people can also have sleep apnoea, and losing weight is not an option for them
  2. Correcting airway obstructions. In children removing enlarged tonsils and adenoids can help. In adults correcting deviated septum and enlarged turbinates can help.
  3. CPAP. Yes the dreaded Darth Vader mask. It works and works very well, but the problem is the research shows less than half of people who attempt to use CPAP tolerate and continue to use it regularly.
  4. Mandibular Advancement Appliance (MAS). A MAS is a dental splint that holds the jaw forward and opens up the airway. These can be very effective at eliminating or reducing sleep apnoea, and are much better tolerated that CPAP.

Sleep apnoea is like cholesterol in the blood. You don’t know how bad it is unless you test for it. We offer a simple, inexpensive ($100) overnight home sleep test that you can do in your own bed, with your own pillow, to determine if you have sleep apnoea or not. Based on the results, we can point you in the right direction for further  investigation if needed