What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a type of sleep disorder that affects almost a million Australians. It is characterised by pauses in breathing that last 10 seconds or more. This causes slight rousing throughout the night.
Although the person with OSA does not remember these multiple awakenings, they interrupt sleep and can cause serious health problems. OSA has been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and is also a frequent contributor to work- and driving-related accidents.
While you sleep, all of your muscles relax, including those that control your tongue and your throat. The soft tissue at the back of the throat may sag, which narrows and constricts the airway.
This often presents as snoring, which is certainly an annoyance, but not everyone who snores has OSA. If, however, the snoring is accompanied by gasping and choking sounds, OSA should be suspected.
Sometimes the only outer sign of OSA is a constant feeling of exhaustion or fatigue throughout the day, even if you appear to have had plenty of sleep
If you snore or are excessively tired throughout the day – or your partner reports pauses in your breathing while you sleep, seek a referral to a sleep physician. This specialist will conduct the necessary tests to determine whether OSA is present as well as its severity.
Contact Our Dental Clinic
At Chatswood Dental Associates, our dentists are passionate about helping our patients live healthy lives. If you snore or have been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea, please call our practice at 02 9412 4488.