SLEEP apnoea is a sleeping disorder and it can cause some serious health complications.
Here's everything you need to know about it.
What exactly is sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea causes breathing to repeatedly stop and re-start when you're asleep.
There are multiple different kinds of sleep apnoea, but the most common one is called obstructive sleep apnoea.
This is when throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airways when you're asleep.
Depending on the severity of the case, sometimes sleep apnoea may need to be treated with surgery.
On World Sleep Day 2019 – which is March 15 – the World Sleep Society explained sleep apnoea can lead to long-term health effects such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
What are the different symptoms?
There are a load of different symptoms linked to sleep apnoea but some of the most obvious are loud snoring and abrupt awakenings followed by gasping and choking.
Night time sweating, morning headaches, high blood pressure and a decreased libido are also huge tell-tale signs.
If you notice yourself experiencing mood changes such as depression or irritability, or are having difficulty concentrating you might want to go and pay your GP a visit.
Waking up with a dry mouth or a sole throat is another symptom.
What are some of the causes?
One main cause that can affect sleep apnoea is additional fat stores around the airway.
Those who hold more fat around their face and neck can be at higher risk of developing sleep apnoea.
Obesity is often associated with sleep apnoea, as the additional soft tissue can cause the airway to block, which restricts breathing.
If you're diagnosed with the condition then you'll typically be asked to make some lifestyle changes such as losing weight, limiting alcohol consumption and stopping smoking.
How do you treat sleep apnoea?
There are multiple different methods of treatment for sleep apnoea, including a chin strap which re-positions the jaw and treatment which uses hypoglossal nerve stimulation.
It can even be treated by upper airway surgery in some cases to remove tissue from the airways.
The most popular treatment which is highly effective is using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, which is a mask that fits over the mouth and nose, and blows air into the airways to help keep it open during sleep.
Can you get a CPAP machine on the NHS?
The continuous positive airways pressure machine is indeed available on the NHS, and is a device worth hundreds of pounds.
If you would rather, you can buy your own CPAP machine online on healthcare site, EU-PAP.
It is the most effective therapy for sleep apnoea and is highly recommended.
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