How to manage obstructive sleep apnoea

Obstructive sleep apnoea can have a serious impact on one’s general health.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a condition that occurs when the airway is restricted in some way. As a result of this restriction, the body does not receive enough air during sleep — this leads to pauses in breathing throughout the night. If left untreated, the condition can lead to a number of other health concerns, as well as some uncomfortable symptoms. Read on to find out more about obstructive sleep apnoea and how it can be managed…

What are the symptoms?

One of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea is loud snoring. Other possible symptoms include daytime fatigue, restless sleep, regular waking throughout the night, and teeth grinding. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, you may also wake up with a headache and/or a sore jaw on a regular basis.

If left untreated, the condition can increase one’s risk of developing a number of other health problems. These include high blood pressure; stroke; heart-related problems like heart failure and irregular heartbeats; diabetes; depression; anxiety; and chronic headaches. Daytime sleepiness can also contribute to poor performance at work or school, and can interfere with day-to-day activities, as well as one’s overall sense of wellbeing.

How can it be managed?

Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which obstructive sleep apnoea can be managed. In some cases, certain lifestyle changes can be enough to resolve the symptoms of the condition — these may include weight loss; more regular exercise; limiting one’s consumption of alcohol; smoking cessation; changes in sleep positions; and limiting one’s use of sedative medications.

If lifestyle changes do not alleviate the symptoms of the condition, the use of an oral appliance may be recommended. Oral appliances are designed to keep the throat and airway open, and are often suitable in cases of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea. Some patients may benefit from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which is a treatment that involves the use of a machine that fits over the nose during sleep. The machine delivers air pressure, which helps to reduce respiratory disruptions throughout the night.

If non-surgical treatments prove unsuccessful, you may be referred for surgery. There are a number of surgical procedures available, all of which help to alleviate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea and reduce the risk of other health issues. Surgery may be performed in order to expand the jaws, or excess tissue of the soft palate may be surgically removed in order to resolve airway restriction. The surgical method that is most appropriate for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms, as well as your particular concerns.


How can we help?

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea, such as daytime fatigue, restless sleep, or loud snoring, we encourage you to come in and see us for a consultation.

At OMFS, we offer a number of treatments for the condition, including some surgical options. If you are a suitable candidate for surgery, your surgeon will let you know which method is best for you and will discuss the relevant procedure in detail with you. Your surgeon is also available to address any questions or concerns that you have regarding your treatment so that you are properly informed before you go ahead with treatment.

If you would like to find out more about our procedures for obstructive sleep apnoea, please have a look here.

To arrange an appointment, please get in touch here or give us a call on (03) 9347 3788. Our team of surgeons is highly qualified and experienced, and works hard to provide top-quality care to each and every patient.

Besides the management of obstructive sleep apnoea, we also offer a range of other oral and maxillofacial procedures, including oral surgery, implants and grafting, jaw surgery and TMJ management. To see the full scope of our services or to learn about a specific procedure, please have a look here.