Snoring & Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Everyone has experienced snoring at some point in their life. They may have been told that they snore, or they might live with somebody who snores - it can be unpleasant and irritating, but it is very common.
But when does snoring become worrying? This article will tell you about obstructive sleep apnoea and what to do about it.
What is snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea?
Snoring is the sound that many people make when sleeping - a grunting-like noise as air moves through the nose and throat. Most people snore from time to time, and it usually isn't anything to worry about. However, obstructive sleep apnoea is when breathing stops and starts during the night, which can be serious.
Sleep apnoea, on the other hand, has a range of symptoms. These can vary from a headache, sore throat and dry mouth in the morning to high blood pressure, mood swings and other more unique symptoms.
These include waking up gasping for air, being very drowsy during the daytime, and your breathing pausing during sleep (you may not notice this, but somebody sharing your room might). If any of these symptoms are accompanied by snoring or possible snoring, it's important to see a doctor.
Snoring can be caused by lots of factors, including alcohol intake, nasal congestion and blockage, weight gain, and the anatomy of your mouth and throat.
Obstructive sleep apnoea, on the other hand, is the result of throat muscles relaxing too much. The brain senses this and will jolt you awake - which you may not remember. This can occur all night long at regular intervals, causing you to never reach a restful deep stage of sleep.
Treatment options for snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea
If your snoring is not sleep apnoea, it is probably not serious. However, it can be challenging for people around you. Many people find that their snoring improves if they lose weight, do not drink near to bedtime, and don't sleep on their back. If these changes do not succeed, there are some treatments or operations which could be effective. Mr Lakhani can perform a complete airway assessment in clinic and tailor effective treatments likely to help in your individual case. These include:
- Nasal appliances
- Mouth guards
- Nasal medications
- Minimally invasive surgical procedures on the mouth or nose
If you have sleep apnoea a course of treatment will be recommended. For mild cases lifestyle changes, such as losing weight with regular exercise, reducing alcohol especially before bed, and quitting smoking can be very helpful. For moderate to severe cases of sleep apnoea, airway pressure (a machine that delivers air pressure while you sleep) is likely to be required. Oral appliances (mouth guards worn while sleeping) can be very effective at treating sleep apnoea and snoring. Mr Lakhani works closely with specialised sleep dentists who can manufacture bespoke appliances for you.
Mr Lakhani also offers the very latest surgical techniques for snoring and sleep apnoea and has won prizes for his work in this field. He will tailor surgery to your individual case to improve the chances of successfully treating your sleep apnoea. Surgery can include surgery to your nose, sinuses or tonsils and palate. Often these procedures are combined to improve effectiveness.