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Do I have Sleep Apnoea?

Don’t lose good days to bad nights

 

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What is sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is a common sleep disorder characterised by repeated interruptions in breathing throughout the sleep cycle.

 

These interruptions, called apnoeas, are caused by the collapse of soft tissue in the airway, which prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs.

 

Weak muscles in the airway, a large tongue, obesity, and other factors may cause airway tissue to collapse and obstruct breathing.

 

Sleep apnoea disrupts the sleep cycle and can dramatically impact energy, mental performance, and long term health. In some cases, if left untreated, sleep apnoea can be fatal.

sleep apnea diagram
Learn more about the signs and symptoms if you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnoea.
1 in 5 adults

1 in 5 adults

have at least mild obstructive sleep apnoea

Who has sleep apnoea?

 

Sleep apnoea sufferers come from all walks of life.
Could you be at risk?

What are the symptoms of sleep apnoea?

 

Sleep apnoea affects 5-10% of adults in Australia, though a majority of sufferers go undiagnosed. Potentially dangerous symptoms, such as snoring, are often overlooked.

 

Untreated sleep apnoea is associated with a number of health risks, so it’s important to consult a sleep specialist if you experience the following signs and symptoms:

Nighttime symptoms

 

Loud persistent snoring

 

Witnessed pauses in breathing

icon-symptom-cough

 

Chocking or gasping for air during sleep

 

Restless sleep

 

Frequent visits to the bathroom

Daytime symptoms

 

Early morning headaches

icon-symptom-fatigue

 

Excessive daytime fatigue

 

Poor concentration

 

Depression or irritability

 

Sleepiness during routine activities

Is my snoring sleep apnea?

Is my snoring sleep apnoea?

 

Snoring does not necessarily indicate sleep apnoea, but when it interferes with your sleep and accompanies other symptoms, it may be signaling a problem. It’s important to understand the difference between harmless snoring and a serious symptom.

 

Snoring is caused by collapsed airway tissue that partially obstructs breathing. The vibration of this tissue causes the characteristic sound, which varies in volume and intensity depending on a person’s anatomy and other factors.

 

Normal snoring does not affect your quality of life, but snoring associated with sleep apnoea can be damaging to your overall health. Frequent, disruptive snoring accompanied by pauses in breath or shallow breathing, fatigue, and restlessness may be indicators of sleep apnoea.

What are the risks of untreated sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea can have serious short and long term health risks if left untreated, including:

 

  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart disease/heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Driving and work-related accidents

800k U.S. drivers

 

800,000 U.S. drivers were involved in sleep apnoea related traffic accidents in the year 2000.


Sassani et al, Reducing motor-vehicle collisions, costs, and fatalities by treating obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, Sleep; 2004 May 1;27(3):453-8

 

3 times greater risk of stroke among patients with moderate sleep apnoea when left untreated.


Goldstein et al, Guidelines for the Primary Prevention of Stroke. A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke, Stroke, Dec 5, 2010.

How do I get diagnosed with sleep apnoea?

 

If you suspect that have sleep apnoea, it’s important to seek a diagnosis so that you can begin treatment and start enjoying the benefits of a healthier life.

1
First take the symptoms quiz to determine if you are experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnoea. Print out your results for discussion.
2
Next, find a sleep physician in your area to begin sleep testing, or schedule an appointment with your primary care physician in the unlikely event that there are no specialists in your area.
3
Finally, review our Doctor Discussion Guide to prepare for your visit, and learn more about what to expect from a sleep test
Talk to your doctor about sleep apnea
Talk to your doctor about sleep apnoea.
Finding out I had sleep apnea allowed me to get on with my life

“Finding out I had sleep apnoea allowed me to get on with my life.”

What to expect from a sleep apnoea test

 

Following your visit, your doctor will prescribe a sleep study to determine if you are experiencing sleep apnoea. The study is a simple, painless procedure that will take place overnight in a sleep lab or in your home.

 

During an in-lab sleep study adhesive sensors will be placed on your scalp, forehead, chin, chest, leg, and index finger to collect information from your brain, heart, lungs, and muscles. Bands may be wrapped around your chest and stomach to measure your breathing. Most people fall asleep and stay asleep without trouble.

 

A sleep technician will collect this data while you sleep and wake you in the morning. Your doctor will review your results and work with you to develop a treatment plan, if necessary.

 

A sleep study is the first step to starting treatment. Treating your sleep apnoea can lead to a happier, healthier life.

Alternatively, portable sleep testing technology may allow for in-home sleep apnoea testing, depending on your health condition and where you live.

 

Find a sleep lab
In-lab sleep study
Home-based sleep study
What to expect with a sleep study

“What to expect with a sleep study”

 

Sleep studies are simple and painless and results can lead to many benefits.

Are you ready to talk to your doctor about sleep apnoea?

 

If left untreated, sleep apnoea can be destructive to your health. Prepare for your exam and sleep study.