What is sleep apnoea? Why is it a problem?

Sleep apnoea is a serious illness that is taken too lightly amongst the public. It does not only affect the person sleeping next to you but everyone around you.

Recently, an inquest into the death of a 27 year old male involved in a head-on collision with a B-double in 2010, was due to the truck driver falling asleep at the wheel. He suffered from sleep apnoea.

Read the article here.

Sleep apnoea is the cessation of airflow while asleep. It may be caused by a physical obstruction to the airway, such as the tongue, or may be due to an instability in the body’s feedback mechanism to control breathing.

When a sleep apnoeic event occurs, generally, breathing stops between 10-30 seconds at a time. In serious cases this can happen, several times per hour throughout the night.

When we sleep, the body is meant to be recovering and recouperating from the days activities. However, if a person has sleep apnoea, the body is unable to rest and instead has to work harder to keep the person alive.

A common symptom is restlessness at night and tiredness during the day. Sometimes, this may get misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome.

Other signs or symptoms include:

  • loud snoring, snorting, gasping while sleeping
  • head or jaw aches
  • grinding
  • tiredness upon waking up in the morning
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • heart burn
  • uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • change in personality
  • depression
  • reduced libido
  • broken sleep
  • frequent visits to toilet during sleep
  • excessive sweating during sleep

Sleep apnoea is a serious illness that can not be treated simply with a oral appliance or CPAP device. Sleep apnoea needs to be managed and treated  by a team of dedicated and well-trained health professionals.

If suspect your child has sleep apnoea, click here.

If you know somebody who may have sleep apnoea, contact Healthy Smile Centre immediately for an assessment.