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Most Australians enjoy a restful sleep after a long day of commuting, working, or finishing errands. Unfortunately, many people with obstructive sleep apnoea may not sleep well.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is more than snoring; it occurs when an airway is fully or partially blocked during sleep. This obstruction forces the diaphragm and chest muscles to work harder to open the airway, so a person can breathe normally. It can cause uncomfortable muscle spasms throughout the night and severely disrupt sleep.
If you suffer from sleep apnoea, your partner may complain you snore during the night. Your breathing may become shallow and stop for short periods. You may wake up several times throughout the night with a loud gasp. These brief, wake-sleep cycles repeat throughout the night. Most people don't remember them when they wake up, and they don't understand why they didn't get a good night's rest.
If you have OSA, you may wake up tired with a morning headache. You could stay drowsy throughout the day and fall asleep during inappropriate moments. Additionally, you might be unable to concentrate during the day.
OSA can also impact your health when left untreated. This health condition can lower the flow of oxygen to your organs and cause uneven heart rhythms. If you suffer from these symptoms, speak with your General Medical Practitioner. Your doctor can refer you for a sleep study that will help cure your condition.
A dentist can help treat your OSA if the sleep study confirms your condition is mild to moderate, by constructing an appliance called a Mandibular Advancement Splint. These appliances work by ensuring that your lower jaw stays forward during the night. They prevent the tissues at the back of your throat from collapsing and blocking your airway. National Dental Care dentists make these appliances using custom-made bite impressions and models.
You can use these devices along as part of your holistic health plan to treat this illness.
OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow for normal breathing. The throat's muscles support structures in your mouth, including your tongue, soft palate, uvula, and tonsils.
Once these muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes. This results in inadequate breathing for 10 seconds or longer. The lower level of oxygen in your blood can cause a buildup of carbon dioxide.
Your brain will sense your impaired breathing and briefly rouse you from sleep so that your airway can reopen. This awakening occurs quickly, so you may not remember what happened.
You can awaken with shortness of breath that corrects itself quickly within two deep breaths. You may make a snorting, choking, or gasping sounds.
The pattern may repeat itself five to 30 times each hour, all night long. The disruptions can impair your ability to sleep well. You won't have deep and restful periods of sleep. You'll probably feel drowsy throughout the day during your waking hours.
Patients with obstructive sleep apnoea may not be aware that their sleep was interrupted. Many people with this type of sleep apnoea, think they've slept well at night.
Any person can develop obstructive sleep apnoea, but several factors can place individuals into an increased risk category. These include:
If you're not getting a good night's sleep, you may have sleep apnoea. Most patients with OSA symptoms suffer from:
If you share a bed with someone, they may notice you have sleep apnoea before you do.
Adults are not the only ones who can suffer from OSA; children can have this issue too. Their symptoms differ slightly from adults. They include:
Other medications can cause these symptoms. Please check with your General Medical Practitioner to rule them out.
If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, there are several possible treatments to help your condition. Some steps include:
Many patients with sleep apnoea will require more treatment beyond these simple steps.
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