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Feeling refreshed? A good night’s sleep is one of those things that makes life so much better. The body recovers from the rigours of the day, the mind is refreshed and the new day is begun with a feeling of invincibility.
A good night’s sleep is something that many people aspire to, but rarely achieve. It may be a partner who snores so loudly that you wish you were sleeping alone. It may be that you can only ever achieve sleep in bursts of a few hours before you wake up and wonder why you are awake. It may be that you wake up and feel as though you need to visit the bathroom again – even though you don’t need to go that often during the day.
Poor sleep quality impacts every part of our lives. It is important to understand that up to ninety percent of sleep apnoea sufferers are unaware that they have a problem.
Sleep disordered breathing (which includes sleep apnoea) may be the most under diagnosed and poorly managed medical condition there is. Its prevalence has surpassed both diabetes and asthma. Yet only 1 in 100 people with sleep apnoea is being helped on a nightly basis. That is not good enough.
Sleep apnoea doesn’t simply mean you’re tired and you snore. It is implicated in a great number of medical conditions plaguing society, including:
Sleep apnoea occurs when a person’s airway closes during sleep. Some people have an airway that is prone to collapse during sleep, due to poor jaw development, a large tongue, bad posture, or weight gain. These people are at greater risk of suffering from sleep apnoea.
As you can imagine, not being able to breathe is extremely stressful to the body. Blood pressure and heart rate see-saw throughout the night. The brain gets roused out of the deeper, restorative sleep, and sleep turns into a battle of survival rather than rest and recovery.
This can markedly affect how you feel during your waking hours. Sleep should be a time for calming the heart and blood vessels, but untreated sleep apnoea causes cardiovascular stress all night. If you have sleep apnoea, essentially you are suffocating in your sleep.
It is essential to rule out sleep apnoea if you snore, experience unrefreshing sleep or have medical problems related to sleep apnoea such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, going to the bathroom at night, erectile dysfunction, excessive daytime sleepiness, depression or anxiety.
(Dr. Anne-Maree Cole B.D.Sc MScMed (Sleep Medicine))
We can arrange a sleep screening or refer you to a sleep physician. The sleep study or screen calculates how many times per hour you stop breathing or partially collapse your airway while you are “asleep”. The results of the study determine the appropriate treatment required to optimise your quality of sleep and prolong your life.
I have included a few quotes from eminent researchers in the field of sleep disordered breathing. These quotes are certainly not included to frighten anyone, but are included to increase your awareness of a subject that is too often seen as inconsequential or just a bit of a laugh.
“Sleep apnoea will be the most common chronic condition in industrialised countries”
John Remmers MD
John Remmers is the Harvard trained physician who coined the phrase, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
65 – 80% of stroke patients have OSA
* 90% of OSA patients have hypertension
* In the USA 17% of people suffer from OSA
95% of patients are undiagnosed!
“Snoring is not normal and should never occur” David Gozal MD
40% of people over age 40 snore
60 – 80% of snorers test positive for OSA
Untreated OSA results in a 20% reduction in life expectancy.
“Children who snore – even if treated for tonsils and adenoids by the age of six – are four times more likely to be in the bottom 25% of the class in Grade 8. This makes the 3 years to 5 years age group critical for optimal development.”- Dr Jim Papadopolos
Snoring, tonsil and adenoid hypertrophy, and facial changes are a good screen for childhood sleep apnoea.
“7 -13% of all pre-school children snore”
David Gozal MD
“OSA may be responsible for a 10 point drop in IQ”
David Gozal MD
“If you do not address the OSA problem in children you may not be able to later reverse the cardiovascular problems which will occur”
David Gozal MD
The vital point to grasp is this:
“Structural narrowing of the pharynx plays a critical role in most, if not all, cases of OSA.” – John Remmers MD
How do I know if I have a problem with sleep disordered breathing? The only correct answer is “You don’t”, unless you have had a recent sleep study. A questionnaire like the one below may give you a hint of a problem, but the only way to know for sure is to have a sleep study done. For most adults, a sleep study can be done in your own bed using portable equipment. We will show you how to set this up so the study can be recorded overnight. When you return the equipment to us the next day, the recorded data is sent to sleep physicians for assessment and diagnosis.
Download Sleep Questionnaire or alternatively fill out the questionnaire below.