Snoring and Sleep Apnoea
Snoring occurs when your throat relaxes and causes a partial blockage in your airway. When breathing the throat vibrates and creates a sound. One in four people suffer with snoring and it more common in men, people who are overweight, and after drinking alcohol. Loud snoring can sometimes be a sign of sleep apnoea.
What is Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is a condition that causes pauses in breathing while you’re asleep. This results in interrupted sleep that, over a sustained period of time, can leave you feeling extremely tired and may have consequences for your long term health.
Sleep apnoea occurs when the muscles in your mouth, nose and throat relax, causing your airways to narrow or completely collapse. This can cause breathing to stop for over 10 seconds and waking to gasp for air. This can happen a number of times in one night and patients often won’t have any recollection.
It’s most common in people aged 30 – 60 and more likely to affect men. You’re more likely to develop sleep apnoea if you are overweight, have a large neck circumference, sleep on your back, drink alcohol, smoke, use sedatives.
Signs you may be suffering from sleep apnoea include:
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Frequent pauses in breathing while sleeping
- Choking, gasping for air while sleeping
- Waking up a lot at night
- Feeling unrefreshed when you wake up
- Having a headache, or possibly a sore throat or dry mouth when you wake up
Long term disturbed sleep can begin to have a detrimental effect on your health. You may frequently fall asleep unintentionally during the day, find it hard to concentrate, have mood swings or personality changes, and you may feel depressed.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnoea
An ENT specialist consultant will offer various tests while you are sleeping to diagnose sleep apnoea.
These investigative tests will measure the amount of oxygen in your blood, your heart rate, airflow, brain activity, eye movements, muscle tone and how many times you stop breathing on average per hour. Results will determine whether you have sleep apnoea and how severe it is.
Treatment for Sleep Apnoea
There are many simple treatments to try before considering surgical intervention.
Often changes in diet can make a difference to you sleep. Particularly avoiding alcohol. Weight loss, stopping smoking, and not using sedative medication should help. Sleep apnoea is often improved if you sleep on your side rather than on your back.
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. A CPAP machine is a very effective long-term treatment that blows pressurised air through a mask that you wear over your nose and mouth, keeping your upper airways open.
These devices, similar to a gum shield, are called mandibular advancement devices. They are worn over your teeth and work by aligning you lower jaw to sit further forward than usual, opening up the back of your throat and improving your breathing.
Surgery is an option if other treatments aren’t successful. Surgery aims to remove any obstruction to the upper airway. This may be nasal surgery to fix problems such as deviated septum (septoplasty), or the removal of your tonsils (tonsillectomy) or other tissue from your throat. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) removes tissue from the back of the roof of your mouth. Laser or radiofrequency ablation may be an option to reduce the amount of tissue around your soft palate or uvula.
A specialist ENT consultant will discuss options and suitability with you after a full investigation.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Snoring and Sleep Apnoea treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance please do contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience
Dr Chinedu Nwokoro
Consultant Paediatrician Specialising in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine and Asthma
One Hatfield Hospital