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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

OSA | Snoring | OSA Treatment in Melbourne

People with OSA experience a partial or complete obstruction of the airway as the muscles in the upper airway relax during sleep. As a result the person stops breathing and may wake up gasping or choking. These episodes of disturbance can occur up to hundreds of times a night. Most OSA sufferers tend to snore however in other cases they may be unaware of any sleep disturbances at all.

  • Excessive daytime tiredness, fatigue and poor concentration.
  • Detrimental effects on sleep quality and health.
  • Increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, Type 2 diabetes, depression, impotence, mood disorders and motor vehicle and industrial accidents.

OSA affects approximately 5% of the adult population and is more common in middle and older age. More men suffer from OSA than women, although after menopause the risk becomes similar. Many, but not all, people with OSA are overweight (as fatty tissue can cause a narrowing of the throat).

In children OSA is often the result of enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

See your general practitioner and ask to be referred for a sleep study to measure your sleep, breathing and oxygen levels. From this suitable treatment can be implemented if necessary.

For people with a mild level of OSA and few symptoms, losing weight, decreasing the amount of alcohol consumed in the evening or sleeping on their side rather than their back is enough to treat OSA.

Moderate or severe OSA is best treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This machine delivers air through a mask that sits over your nose to hold your throat open throughout the night. For other patients an oral appliance (mandibular advancement splint) will be suitable. This works by holding your lower jaw forward which helps keep the airway open. They are custom made by your dentist from impressions of your jaw and bite and can be adjusted.

CPAP and oral appliances are best used in conjunction with other lifestyle changes such as weight loss, increase in exercise and changing sleeping position.

There are several surgical operations available but should only be considered if CPAP and oral appliances have been unsuccessful.