Are You At Risk Of Sleep Apnoea?

With all the dental related articles on our main site I thought that it would be a good idea to discuss something unrelated to dentistry but very much a part of healthy living. Did you know that at least one in 10 people over age 65 have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder commonly found in young and elderly adults. When we sleep we do pause between breathing in and breathing out, this can vary from normal (being a few seconds to up to a minute between breaths for someone with sleep apnea. The difference with people with sleep apnoea is mainly that they stop breathing more often than normal. The sleep apnea can be central (CSA), obstructive (OSA), or mixed according to the reason why the breathing is inadequate. Obstructed sleep apnea is the most common of the three classifications.

People with sleep apnea suffer from hypopnea (which means that there is a stop in breathing or airflow more often than normal) and is following by a loud snort or choking sound when they start breathing again. Sometimes the frequency in hypopnea may reach twice per minute. Depending on how many respiratory pauses occurring every hour, how low is the level of oxygen in the blood of the person during those periods and the amount of sleep a person feel during the day, we can classify the sleep apnoea in mild, moderate or severe. As consequences of this disorder the person is unable to sleep properly at night and hence are sleepy in the day. The risk of diabetes, stroke and other serious health problems seems to be related.


Recognising sleep apnoea

It is very important to have a proper diagnosis and assessment for sleep apnoea. Traditionally tests were conducted in proper sleep laboratories where the sleep apnoea was evaluated. The effect of not being able to breath properly is that it lowers the oxygen saturation in our blood streams. For convenience we use a home oximetry kit to test for the oxygen saturation at home. If the results show that the oxygen saturation is lower at night while sleeping then its diagnosed as sleep apnoea.

Treating sleep apnoea

As consequences, when sleep apnea does not receive any treatment it can lead to daytime sleepiness. There is a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and depression.


What are the solutions for treatment

  1. The mandibular advancement device (MAD) is a device made of hard plastic that cover the teeth and is used for holding the mandible forward, sometime also holds the tongue in place,with the purpose of keeping the airways open. It is fabricated by your dentist.
  2. Continuous positive pressure airway or CPAP, Continuous positive pressure airway or CPAP is the most common and researched treatment for sleep apnea. This machine pushes a stream of air continuously through a mask in order to hold the airways open when the person sleeps.
  3. Surgery, Some people are surgically treated and the tissue from the back of the throat are removed and consequently widen the airways. Some people who are overweight receive a surgery called “bariatric” which helps people to lose weight by limiting the amount of food into the stomach.

At Brighton Implant Clinic we are able to provide the Orthoapnea appliance for patients that snore and/or have sleep apnea. We have a mobile unit for patients to take home o see if they are at risk of apnea. Oxygen saturation will decrease during sleep if there is any sleep apnoea. The oxygen saturation is measured very easily and painlessly while you sleep. For more information please feel free to Contact Brighton Implant Clinic or call 0800 111 6623.

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