Snoring occurs when the muscles of the airway relax too much during sleep and vibrate (creating noise) when air we breathe passes in and out. Most people will snore at some time, however loud or chronic snoring can disrupt sleep-quality and disturb others. Particularly when loud, it is often associated with other sleep-related breathing disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
What is OSA?
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a serious and lifelong medical condition that affects 750,000 Australians. Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound. OSA is a chronic, lifelong medical condition that can affect your sleep, health and quality of life. It has been linked to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, work and driving related accidents and stroke.
The most appropriate treatment for snoring varies according to the severity of snoring, presence of sleep apnoea, age, body-weight, degree of daytime sleepiness, alcohol-consumption, medical history and the anatomy of the upper airway.
The first step is to get diagnosed. After an initial screening and evaluation, your clinician will determine which test is appropriate for you.
Types of Tests
An Overnight Sleep Study Polysomnogram (PSG)
A PSG is a test that is conducted in a sleep laboratory or hospital setting where the patient has to stay overnight.
Home Sleep Test (HST)
Also called an Out of Center Sleep Test (OCST) – this test is performed by using a device that the patient wears in the comfort of their own home. The patient is given instructions on how to use the device and will return it to the dispensing office for the report to be evaluated.
Apnoea-Hypopnea Index (AHI)After completing your sleep study, your clinician will determine if you suffer from OSA based on two main factors:
- Oxygen Desaturation levels
- Respiratory Effort Related Arousals (RERA)
The doctor may also share with you a level of disease severity (mild, moderate or severe).
- Mandibular advancement splint (MAS) – the splint is used to prevent the soft tissue from collapsing into the airway and disrupting normal
breathing patterns. Thus providing a greater degree of oxygen saturation and also reducing the vibration at the back of your throat which will reduce snoring noise. An MAS can be use in mild to moderate sleep apnoea based on the sleep physicians recommendation.
- CPAP – this is a medical device, where you attach a mask to your nose providing good oxygen flow for patients. Commonly used in moderate to severe sleep apnoea.
We are Somnomed providers, trained in assessing for and fitting sleep devices.