Snoring can be a sign of a more serious condition such as Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). When you sleep, muscles that control your tongue and throat relax, which can cause the soft tissues at the back of the throat to to constrict and obstruct airflow for breathing. This can cause multiple pauses in breathing during your sleep throughout the night, depriving your body of oxygen, and causing you to wake up.
Signs and symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
-Gasping/choking during sleep
-Excessive daytime sleepiness
-Hypertension (High blood pressure)
-Bruxism (grinding teeth)
Causes and effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Causes suchs as being male, family history and increasing age are unavoidable, others such as diabetes, smoking, alcohol use and obesity may be more managable. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can lead to:
-Hypertension (high blood pressure)
-Effects on relationships
-Effects in the workplace
Click here for 7 News story on link between snoring and heart disease (Credit: 7 News)
You will be assessed and screened at the dentist, and also depending on your risk factors, you may be referred for a sleep study at a specialised sleep centre. People diagnosed with mild and moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnoea have been shown to respond well to continuous open airway therapy, which consists of a specialised appliance that fits over the upper and lower teeth. These devices, made through Somnomed, move the lower jaw forward, into an optimal position determined by the
dentist which prevents the soft tissues in the back of the throat from collapsing while you sleep.
Somnomed Appliance (Credit Somnomed)