Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Snoring & Sleep Apnea

What causes snoring?
Snoring occurs when the tissues of the throat are so relaxed or narrowed that air cannot pass normally. This decreases the amount of air to the lungs and the heart has to work harder.  Many, if not all snoring patients should be evaluated for sleep apnoea.

A custom-fitted Mandibular Advancement Appliance (MAA) have been proven to be extremely effective in reducing and eliminating snoring.

Sleep apnoea is a very serious condition that affects millions of South Africans and people all over the world. It is often over-looked, ignored, tolerated, misdiagnosed and mistreated. It is such a major condition that cause many health concerns if not properly treated.

What is Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is a condition that disrupts sleep by causing pauses in breathing that can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and usually occur 5 to 30 times per hour. Sleep apnoea moves you from a deep, sound sleep to a light, disrupted sleep and is an ongoing condition.
 
Symptoms Include:
  • Snoring
  • Episodes of stopped breathing
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
Types of Sleep Apnoea

The three types of sleep apnoea are central, obstructive, and mixed and are categorized as being mild, moderate or severe

With central sleep apnoea, the brain has episodes where it “forgets” to tell the breathing muscles to function. It is the most dangerous type and is extremely rare.

Obstructive sleep apnoea(OSA) is the most common type and is caused by a blockage of the airways. The soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep and causes the blockage. Many times the lower jaw falls open during sleep, drops back and the base of the tongue causes the blockage.

Mixed sleep apnoea is the third type and is a combination of central and OSA. It starts with a central component that then becomes obstructive. The central sleep apnoea component usually lessens in intensity once the OSA component is treated.

A Health Risk

A patient with sleep apnoea is three to five times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, and is seven times more likely to die in his or her sleep.

As our population gets increasingly overweight, the percentage of the population that suffers from sleep apnoea increases. But this problem is not confined to middle-aged men who may be carrying some extra weight. Conservative estimates place patients with sleep disorders at 12 percent of the public. These people are shaving years off their lives by adding stress to their heart muscles. But a scarier fact is… they’re endangering all of us. They are constantly tired and are at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel of a car.

Treatment for mild sleep apnoea may involve:

  • Losing weight
  • Stopping smoking
  • Sleeping on your side instead of your back
  • Reducing intake of alcohol and sedative drugs
  • Using nasal decongestants

Moderate to severe cases require a Mandibular Advancement Appliance (MAA) or Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment.

CPAP treatment utilizes a mask held in place by straps that is used while you sleep. This mask has small pouches that are inserted into the nostrils to control the amount of air pressure sent into the nose to keep the airways open. This helps control breathing. The mask is connected to a machine that monitors air pressure to reduce and eliminate the episodes of stopped breathing. CPAP also keeps the soft tissue in the back of throat open during sleep.

For many, this may be inconvenient and uncomfortable. Active people who enjoy the outdoors or travel often are not good candidates for CPAP. Luckily, there is an alternative!

We can provide you with a custom made oral appliance (MAA) to fit your mouth and is a great form of treatment for those who suffer from  OSA. This appliance is worn during sleep and helps to keep the soft tissues in the throat from collapsing by moving your lower jaw and tongue a little forward. No machine, no mask!

If you snore or suffer from OSA, please contact one of our offices for a confidential sleep apnoea consultation. Together, we will help you decide what sleep apnoea treatment is best for your condition.

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