Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common amongst breathing related sleep disorders. It occurs when a persons upper airway muscles intermittently relax and narrow, thus the airway frequently collapses over the course of sleep stopping the air from freely flowing to and from your lungs.
obstructive sleep apnoea.
. Your brain is able to recognise this impaired breathing and will briefly awaken you from sleep in order to properly reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you may not even remember it occurring up to 30 times an hour all night long.
This repeated and prolonged lack of breathing not only disturbs sleep but extensively impacts your health.
Snoring is perhaps the most notable symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea, as this predominately occurs at nighttime it can be difficult for a person to recognise a pattern of symptoms on their own. Other common symptoms include:
Symptoms observed at night:
Causes and Management
While the cause of obstructive sleep apnoea is typically categorised by a natural relaxation of the muscles that surround the throat and soft palette leading to the frequent pause in breathing lasting in some cases for 10 seconds or more ( known as hypopnea or apnoeas depending on their severity). There are several key factors that increase a persons risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
Sex- The risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea is notable greater in men or people born male. The risk for females and those female at birth is highest in the post menopausal stage of life.
Age- Age is a consistent and rising factor.
BMI- Body Mass Index is based measured on a persons height and age. The likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnoea rises with your BMI
Family history of obstructive sleep apnea.
Pre-existing medical conditions- TMJ, TMD, Hyperthyroidism, Asthma, Diabetes and Hypertension are all associated with increased risk of obstructive sleep apnoea.
Enlarged tonsils- particularly prevalent in children suffering with obstructive sleep apnoea .
Facial configurations – a large neck circumference or small lower jaw.
The management of obstructive sleep apnoea once diagnosed by a team of the appropriate medical practitioners is largely dependent on the factors that contributed to that diagnosis. For milder cases of obstructive sleep apnea lifestyle changes to address your key risk factors may be recommend such as; losing weight and exercising