Sleep > Sleep Apnoea
Sleep Apnoea comes in two forms. Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnoea. Apnoea
simply means a cessation of breathing- you have stopped breathing like you
normally do during the day. These breathing pauses also come in two forms.
Central Sleep Apnoea have different reasons for occurring but they have very
similar effects on daytime functioning. Both of these conditions can only be
reliably diagnosed through an overnight sleep study in a sleep clinic.
Essentially this is what they are:
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a disorder of breathing while you are asleep.
It is caused by a repeated blockage or narrowing of your airways. The severity
of your OSA is usually expressed by the average number of these blockages or
narrowings per hour (the Apnoea-Hypopnoea Index). These blockages/ narrowings
cause your sleep to be fragmented from normal and can cause blood oxygen
saturation drops during the night. During the daytime this will leave you tired,
grumpy, less able to concentrate and prone to falling asleep (People with OSA
have more accidents than other people). OSA probably causes high blood pressure
and may be linked to diseases of the heart and possibly stroke.
People with moderate to severe OSA are usually successfully treated with:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)- a small pump that keeps the back of
the throat open so you can breath normally, CPAP has been proven to be the most
effective treatment for OSA in most people.
Surgery -when something unusually large is present in the back of the airway and
causing the blockage removing it can fix the problem.
Oral Device which looks a bit like a sports mouth guard and works by holding the
chin slightly forward to reduce pressure on the airway while you sleep. Also
shown to be effective in some people.
Weight Loss. Weight gain usually makes OSA worse, on the other hand loosing
weight -if you are overweight- will usually reduce the severity of OSA. People
with OSA should also try to loose weight in conjunction with one of the above
Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA). Causes the same problems in your life as OSA but is
caused by something slightly different. OSA and CSA are not totally separate
problems- people with CSA and OSA share some nighttime characteristics. Some
people are neither CSA nor OSA but are somewhere in the middle and have what are
referred to as Mixed Apnoeas.
Something in the brain-to-body connection is not working as it should. In OSA
the throat muscles don't hold the airway open enough when breathing starts. In
CSA the connection fails to tell the body to start breathing at all. CSA is
rarer than OSA and thus is not quite so easy to study properly. Treatment for
CSA is very individual, it depends on the subtype of CSA that you might have and
needs to be investigated by your physician.
Other things that can make OSA/CSA worse are alcohol, sedatives (sleeping pills
and the like) and always sleeping on your back.
This Information courtesy of