What is Sleep Apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is an obstruction of the airways caused by a collapse of the tongue and soft palate onto the back of the throat while sleeping.

Common signs of sleep apnoea

Sleep apnoea is a serious sleep disorder which interrupts breathing repeatedly during sleep. Signs you may have sleep apnoea include:

  • Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
  • Insomnia
  • Poor concentration and attention
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty performing work duties.

During the many episodes of restricted breathing, people living with sleep apnoea wake from deep sleep throughout the night. This frequent waking results in a lack of restful sleep, causing sleepiness, a lack of concentration and poor performance during the day.

The symptoms of sleep apnoea may range from mild to severe, but they generally take a progressive course, worsening with age. Sleep apnoea should be taken very seriously as, left untreated, sleep apnoea may affect the heart and blood pressure, leading to a range of other health conditions.

Sleep apnoea – Obstructive, Central & Complex

  • Obstructive sleep apnoea. This is the most common form of sleep apnoea. and results in loud snoring when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnoea. Central sleep apnoea is much less common than Obstructive sleep apnoea and involves the central nervous system. It can be difficult to detect as sufferers rarely snore. Central sleep apnoea is the result of the brain’s failure to properly signal the muscles which control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnoea. Complex sleep apnoea is the combination of both Obstructive and Central sleep apnoea conditions.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Obstructive sleep apnoea can present as:

  • Loud, chronic snoring
  • Frequent pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Gasping, snorting or choking during sleep
  • Daytime exhaustion
  • Experiencing shortness of breath, chest pains, headaches, nasal congestion, or a dry throat when you wake up.

What happens during sleep apnoea?

When the flow of air into the lungs is obstructed, the blood’s oxygen level drops. This is a potentially life-threatening event. In response, the brain initiates the flight-or-fight response in order to wake you just enough to start breathing again. This response presents as gasping, snorting or choking during sleep. Most people living with sleep apnoea are unaware of the micro-awakenings occurring throughout their sleep.

Should I be concerned about sleep apnoea?

Left untreated, sleep apnoea can have a serious impact on your health. Untreated sleep apnoea can result in:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Adult asthma
  • Acid reflux
  • Accidents & injury.

What should I do if I am concerned about sleep apnoea?

For a comprehensive assessment of your sleep apnoea and the treatment options available, book an assessment with us today.