Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is the repetitive, intermittent cessation of breathing while sleeping. The most common sign noticed by people is snoring. Other signs include excessive drowsiness and difficulty concentrating.
Sleep apnea has been recognized as a risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
- Snorers are more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than non-snorers.
- Snorers are more likely to have car accidents.
- Snorers are more likely to have accidents at work.
- Sleep apnea sufferers are more likely to have high blood pressure.
- Sleep apnea has a significant impact on your well-being and lifestyle.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a life-threatening medical disorder
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Treatment usually involves a thorough medical examination. This may include specialists such as ear nose and throat or respiratory physicians.
Ideally a sleep study is conducted. This involves sleeping for a night with monitors recording your sleep details including brain activity, phases of sleep, waking episodes and muscle activity.
Some people are found to wake dozens of times per hour and may not reach the deeper phases of sleep required for health.
Treatment often involves the use of positive airway pressure devices. This is usually a face mask type devices attached to an air-pump via hoses. This device, called a CPAP device, has a very high success rate if worn. Unfortunately many people find the wearing of a face mask and hoses inconvenient or uncomfortable.
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A second option is the wearing of an intraoral device. This is like an upper and lower mouthguard which clip together. This maintains the chin in a forward position and holds the tongue forward to prevent it from obstructing the airway. This is usually found to be far more comfortable than a CPAP device.
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