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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

What is obstructive sleep apnoea?

Snoring usually doesn’t cause any significant medical problems. However, in some cases, snoring can indicate a more serious medical condition called obstructive sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea can cause interruptions to your breathing many times during the night. These episodes can last from 10 seconds to two minutes. Clinically, a person is considered to have sleep apnoea if there are more than 5 partial or complete obstructions per hour of sleep. The first step in determining if you or your partner may have sleep apnoea, is to go to your local GP to get a referral for a respiratory sleep-disorder physician.

Causes of obstructive sleep apnoea

When you're asleep, your muscles relax. For some people, the soft tissues may relax too much, and this may lead to obstruction of the airways. The obstruction may be partial or complete

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea

The most common symptoms include:

  • Snoring very loudly

  • Tiredness on waking

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

  • Choking or gasping during sleep

  • Poor concentration throughout the day

  • Memory deterioration

  • Personality changes that may include irritability

Treatment: Oral appliance therapy

Oral appliance therapy is one way to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. It is a safe, painless and effective method. Oral appliances have helped many people who snore or have obstructive sleep apnoea. They are worn when you sleep, and they work by helping you keep the airway open by bringing the jaw forward or lifting up the soft palate or holding the tongue forward.

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