Are you snoring excessively? Do you feel unusually lethargic during the day? Do you suffer from regular morning headaches? If that sounds like you, there’s a decent chance you belong to the 20% group of Australians that suffer from Sleep Apnoea. Despite the high prevalence of sleep apnoea, it is found that the majority of sufferers either ignore the symptoms or are unaware of the condition.
Unfortunately, sleep apnoea is not just an annoying snoring problem, as many have mistakenly thought. Categorised as a sleeping disorder, sleep apnoea can develop into a potentially serious medical condition that is linked to health complications including stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.
On the other hand, many treatments are available to counter the effects of sleep apnoea. In this article, we will look at 5 ways to overcome sleeping disorders.
CPAP therapy offers obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) sufferers a relatively unobtrusive way to prevent the OSA sufferer from breathing pauses throughout the night when they are sleeping. The CPAP machine consists of a portable unit with an attached face/nasal mask. The mask, connected via tubes to the unit, delivers gentle streams of pressurized air to hold your palate and throat tissues open. While CPAP is the most common treatment for sleep apnoea, it remains one of the least tolerated. The majority of patients (estimated around 60%) find it difficult complying with CPAP therapy.
Since obesity is a common influencing factor in sleep apnoea, weight loss is a major component of many successful sleep apnoea treatment programme. In fact, it is found that by shedding 5-10% of weight, sufferers can potentially make a huge difference to their condition, thereby improving the quality of sleep while reducing the number of apnoea episodes. An apnoea is generally defined as the cessation of breathing that last for 10 seconds or longer.
Since alcohol relaxes the muscles around the windpipe – thus restrict normal breathing – OSA sufferers should avoid alcohol, particularly in the few hours before sleep.
Lying on your back when sleeping can also increase the likelihood of pauses in breathing. Altering your position to sleep on your side – made easier by using pillows – is a great lifestyle change for OSA sufferers.
Where CPAP compliance is an issue, many have turned to oral appliance as a remedy. Dental oral appliances, in particular, can help to unblock your airways by controlling your jaw and tongue movements. Since interrupted breathing is essentially caused by oral movements – involving the tongue and throat tissues – there are many dental devices that can help to remove these obstructions and effectively unblock the breathing. Among the oral appliances, the two most popular are the Tongue-Retaining Device and Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS).
Of course, the most suitable treatment really depends on the underlying cause of the condition. For some sleep apnoea cases, treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach where you and your dentist can work together with your medical doctor and sleep physician in determining the treatment needed. This may involve professional dental surgery treatment. When it comes to surgery, a number of options are available: Corrective jaw surgery, palatal implants somnoplasty and uvulopalatophrayngoplasty.
At Face Value Dental we provide professional dental surgery treatments for patients suffering from Sleep Apnoea. Visit our web page for further information surrounding Sleep Health or contact us on (07 3221 0677 for more information.