What really is keeping you awake at night?

06 September 2018

Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you haven’t slept a wink? Does your partner snore incredibly loudly and has periods where they seem like they aren’t breathing? Then they may suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnoea affects more than 10% of adult men and 5% of adult women in the general population worldwide. It occurs due to blocking of the upper airway during sleep, interrupting normal breathing. OSA regularly leads to recurrent interrupted sleep, which can then have a huge impact on quality of life. There are multiple factors which predispose people to this condition including, airway narrowing due to genetic factors, neck fat accumulation and reduced upper airway muscle contraction.

What symptoms are associated with obstructive sleep apnoea?

Symptoms can include snoring, choking episodes, witnessed apnoeas (when a partner notices that the patient has a gap in their breathing pattern), poor quality and unrefreshing sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, poor memory, nocturia ( passing urine at night) and reduced levels of concentration during the day. Individuals will usually have no memory of interrupted breathing or sleep and therefore may be unaware that there is a problem to be fixed.

Obstructive sleep apnoea can be associated with high blood pressure (hypertension). If it is moderate or severe in nature and left untreated then it can be a risk factor for future cardiovascular disease.

What tests are used to investigate obstructive sleep apnoea?

Following an initial clinical assessment with a respiratory specialist such as Dr Julius Cairn, the key test is a multi-channel sleep study, which is used to determine if somebody has obstructive sleep apnoea or not. This is nowhere near as scary as it sounds. This can be completed by the patient at home, so they’re in a familiar environment. The recording is then analysed by a physiologist and Dr Cairn in order to reach a conclusion. Following this, a patient would then return to see Dr Cairn in the clinic at Spire Harpenden in order to discuss the potential treatment options.

Here at Spire Harpenden Hospital we offer a range of treatments and services in order to increase your quality of life. If you have concerns about yours, or your partners sleeping patterns, do not hesitate to give us a call on: 01588 714 420 to discuss you options and book in to see a specialist consultant such as Dr Cairn.


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