Obstructive sleep apnoea is the brief stopping of breathing during sleep. This is due to closure of the upper airways. As the sufferer's sleep becomes deeper the muscles of their upper airways and pharynx relax. This causes them to close temporarily. This blocks the passage of air and causes breathing to stop temporarily. The patient's oxygen levels drop, CO2 levels rise and the sufferer's sleep lightens. Then their airways open up and breathing continues. The cycle repeats.
What are the signs of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)?
- Breathing stops for short periods multiple times a night
- Severe snoring
- See-sawing of the chest
- Day time sleepiness. Nodding off at inappropriate times such as in meetings and whilst driving due to poor quality sleep and repeated waking during the night.
- Anxiety and depression
- Sore throat
- Headaches, poor memory and concentration
If you think you may have obstructive sleep apnoea you should visit your GP who will consider performing some sleep studies and other tests. The complications of OSA include an increased risk of heart attack as well as bleeding or reduced blood supply to the brain. It is important to seek medical advice as treatments are available.
If you are the partner of an OSA sufferer you should definitely get yourself a comfortable pair of ZenPlugs Molded Earplugs for bedtime. They are ideal for blocking loud snoring and can help you get through the night without being woken up. They are available from http://zenplugs.com/molded-earplugs/
Tune in next time for information on risk factors for OSA.
Does someone you know suffer from OSA? How does it affect them? Please leave us a comment.