What is Sleep Apnoea?
What is sleep apnoea? "Apnoea" literally means "no breath" or "stopping breathing".When you have an apnoea, air stops flowing to your lungs for 10 seconds or longer—that is, you actually stop breathing. Sensing you have stopped breathing, a control centre in your brain triggers you to wake up just enough to gasp and start breathing again. Then you fall back to sleep and the cycle begins again. This can happen more than 50 times every hour, even though you may not remember waking up.
As you can imagine, being deprived of oxygen and constantly being triggered back into breathing hour after hour, night after night—puts immense strain on your body. Sleep apnoea affects more than 3 in 10 men and nearly 1 in 5 women, so it’s more common than you might think.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea
- Daytime sleepiness or
- Restless night’s sleep
- High blood pressure
If left untreated, Sleep Apnoea symptoms may cause
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Fatigue that may cause accidents
- Decrease in quality of life
Sleep Apnoea Treatment
If you have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) by your doctor, they may might suggest one or more of the following lifestyle changes:
- Weight reduction
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Increasing exercise
- Stop smoking – this irritates the nasal lining
- Reduce nasal stuffiness with nasal sprays
Taking some of these actions might help reduce the severity of OSA for mild sufferers. However if you have MODERATE to SEVERE obstructive sleep apnoea these steps will have little to no effect on treating the condition. For these people, the most efficient and widely accepted treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
What is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the simplest and most effective treatment available for OSA. CPAP consists of a uniquely fitted mask. This mask is connected to an electronically driven pump that delivers a flow of air through a length of tubing. Supplying a flow of air to the upper airway in this manner creates a positive airway pressure. This positive pressure provides a splint in the airway to prevent it from collapsing during sleep. CPAP treatment is used only when sleeping. The user will experience relief of symptoms with this form of treatment. However it is a treatment and not a cure, if the treatment is stopped the airway will continue to collapse .
A CPAP device does not cure sleep apnoea, but when you use the device correctly, your sleep problems should get much better.
CPAP devices can cost well over $1,500, so we recommend that it is best to try one out before purchase. Patients who hire sleep apnoea treatment equipment can generally deduct part of the rental payment from their purchase of sleep apnoea devices and masks.
A comprehensive booklet is given to patients who hire or purchase sleep apnoea equipment from Des Lardner’s Organic.