Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is caused when your airways close during sleep affecting both your breathing and quality of sleep. During the day, muscles comprising your airway are active and keep the throat and airway passage open. However, when a patient has obstructive sleep apnoea, the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway and preventing air from getting to the lungs. The site of obstruction in most patients with obstructive sleep apnoea is in the soft palate region, extending to the region at the base of the tongue as there are no rigid structures, such as cartilage or bone, in this area to hold the airway open. So as a person with obstructive sleep apnoea falls asleep, these airway muscles relax to a point where the airway collapses and becomes obstructed and in turn effects their ability to breathe well during sleep. Proper evaluation and testing is needed for an accurate diagnosis.
Obstructive sleep apnoea is a medical condition that is diagnosed by a sleep physician, but can be treated by a dentist with special understanding and training on this life threatening breathing disorder. Currently, the primary method for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnoea is to have the patient undergo a sleep study, referred to as a Polysomnography (PSG) or Home Sleep Test (HST). We are happy to assist our patients in coordination of any necessary sleep testing.
Common signs of obstructive sleep apnoea in adults include otherwise unexplained daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, and loud snoring.
Additional symptoms of sleep apnoea include:
- Morning headaches
- Trouble concentrating
- Mood changes such as irritability, anxiety and depression
- Memory loss
- Increased heart rate and/or blood pressure
- Decreased sex drive
- Unexplained weight gain
- Changes in urination
- Frequent heartburn and heavy night sweats
Do you think you may have sleep apnoea? Please come see us or take the test below.