Sleep apnoea is a widely recognised condition which can have serious health consequences.
It can occur at any age but it’s prevalence increases with age. About 20% of people aged over 60 have obstructive sleep apnoea.
Untreated sleep apnoea has significant health implications. Knowing you suffer from it is the first step to having it treated.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know what signs to look for. There are a number of symptoms, which may be present on their own or with others.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), is basically sleep interrupted by collapse of the upper during sleep, causing cessation of breathing.
This causes you to wake up, at least partially. You may not remember waking up.
However, every time your breathing is interrupted, your oxygen levels may drop, sometimes enough to cause negative effects on body organs.
You may experience the apnoea (cessation of breathing) as gasping or choke during sleep. Again, you may not remember this; as the arousal from sleep is very short.
However, sleep does become fragmented, which is why you may feel unrefreshed on waking, and tired and sleepy during the day.
If you sleep alone, the above could be signs that you have sleep apnoea. If you don’t, it may be other people who tell you about it.
One of the most common signs of the condition is snoring. Most of us snore at some point during sleep, but obstructive sleep apnoea causes loud snoring, often disturbing others.
Another thing anyone sleeping next to you may notice is that you stop breathing. This can be quite alarming for partners of people with obstructive sleep apnoea.
Pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to over a minute.
Something else a sleeping partner may notice is restless sleep or abnormal behaviour during sleep. T
his could take the form of acting out dreams, nightmares or night terrors, and sometimes even sleepwalking.
If this behaviour happens frequently, it could well be because of obstructive sleep apnoea.
For more information on sleep disorders, view our sleep disorders page here.Leave a reply