Everybody snores occasionally, but sleep apnoea is a far more serious problem. The most common from of sleep apnoea is called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is characterised by loud snoring interrupted by frequent pauses in breath during sleep. During sleep the muscles supporting the throat relax and can collapse inwards, obstructing the airway. Breathing can stop for several seconds before it restarts, often with a loud gasp. This interrupts sleep, but will not usually awaken the sufferer. Consequently, they will often be unaware they have OSA.
People with OSA frequently feel excessively sleepy. This can make it difficult to function properly at work or school, and could increase the risk of accidents. OSA can have negative effects on general health, with sufferers more likely to have depression and they may be at higher risk of heart attacks or strokes.
The risk of OSA is higher in people who are overweight, or who smoke or use alcohol. Middle-aged men are more likely to develop OSA, as are women going through the menopause. The hormonal changes can increase the likelihood of the throat muscles relaxing during sleep.
For more information, please speak to our friendly dental team on (03) 9467 6759 or visit the practice at Suite 5, Level 1, 20 Scholar Drive, Bundoora VIC 3083.