Snoring isn’t just disruptive to your partner and household – it can also be an indicator of a dangerous condition known as Sleep Apnoea.
Professor Jim Ironside is one of Australia’s leading prosthodontists and specialises in custom appliances to reduce the effects of sleep apnoea. This will not only help your household have a more peaceful sleep but will also lead to better long-term health outcomes for you!
Sleep apnoea is a condition in which breathing stops during sleep. This can cause a multitude of health issues. Fatigue and a lack of focus due to exhaustion are both common symptoms, however, there are even more frightening possibilities. Sleep apnoea increases the risk of strokes, hypertension, heart disease, and other potentially fatal conditions. Therefore, it’s crucial to get diagnosed and receive treatment if you feel you may suffer from sleep apnoea.
What is the Cause of Sleep Apnoea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is caused by the temporary relaxation of the muscles at the back of the throat. These muscles support the soft tissue of your soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and walls of the throat, and their relaxation results in all that soft tissue collapsing, cutting off your airway and causing a lack of oxygen. The brain awakens the sufferer temporarily when it detects this lack of air. Therefore, sufferers of OSA are so prone to snoring, choking, or gasping in their sleep.
OSA can be genetic, so if a family member has been diagnosed in the past, you are far more likely to suffer from the condition yourself. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, and the frequent use of alcohol or sedatives before bed. Older men are generally more susceptible to OSA, being two to three times more likely to suffer the condition than women.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea?
The most easily identifiable symptom of OSA is loud, disruptive snoring. While you may not be aware of this if you live alone, if you share your bed or house, your partner or housemates can confirm if you are sawing logs in your sleep. This loud snoring is linked to another key symptom of OSA – feeling utterly exhausted and drained every day.
One of the reasons for snoring is the relaxation of the muscles holding up the soft tissue in your throat – this tissue collapses, blocks your airway of oxygen, the tissue vibrates as you attempt to breathe, and you start snoring. Because your brain recognises this lack of oxygen, it jolts you awake for you to breathe. In extreme cases of OSA, this can happen as often as 50 times an hour.
These “micro-arousals” are so quick that you may not even be aware of waking up frequently; however, the effects will be felt the next day. Irritability, exhaustion, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and clumsiness are all effects of a lack of restful sleep and can negatively impact your daily functioning. Other possible indicators of sleep apnoea include night sweats, morning headaches, or waking up with a sore throat and dry mouth.
The effects of OSA are more far-reaching than mere exhaustion. Untreated OSA is linked to an increased risk of several serious health conditions, including Type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiac arrest, and strokes, not to mention accidents caused by a lack of restful sleep.
How Can We Help?
If you suspect you may suffer from OSA, your first port of call should be a sleep specialist. If a sleep study confirms your suspicions, your next stop should be Ironside Advanced Dental. Professor Jim Ironside is a leading specialist in treating sleep disorders through dentistry and provides custom-made dental appliances to reduce the effects of obstructive sleep apnoea.
These dental appliances aid in repositioning the jaw to sit further forward, opening the airway, and allowing smooth and easy airflow from the mouth to the lungs. This means no more snoring, no more gasping for breath, and no more little jolts from your brain waking you while you’re sleeping. Not only will you sleep better, but you also won’t keep your household awake. Moreover, you mitigate some of the other risks of sleep apnoea, leading to better long-term health outcomes over the rest of your life.
To find out more about sleep dentistry, please have a look here.
To make an appointment, please call (02) 9267 3495, or get in touch here.