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Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a condition that causes frequent pauses in your breathing when you’re asleep, interrupting your sleep. Many of the symptoms associated with OSA are tied to sleep itself, such as frequent pauses in breathing or choking noises when you’re asleep and snoring. But, as Bupa points out, certain symptoms can surface when you wake up in the morning.
Waking up with a dry mouth, a headache, or possibly a sore throat may indicate you are suffering from the sleep disturbance, says the health body.
As it explains, the disturbed sleep is likely to have other effects on you and your health.
- Fall asleep during the day
- Find it hard to concentrate
- Have mood swings or personality changes
- Feel depressed.
How can I get a tested for obstructive sleep apnoea?
If a GP thinks you might have OSA, they may refer you to a specialist sleep clinic for tests, explains the NHS.
“At the clinic, you may be given devices that check things like your breathing and heartbeat while you sleep,” says the health body.
As it explains, you’ll be asked to wear these overnight so doctors can check for signs of sleep apnoea.
“The test can show if you have sleep apnoea and how severe it is. This is based on how often your breathing stops while you sleep (AHI score),” it adds.
How to treat it
Fortunately, there are a range of treatments available that can help to restore your sleeping routine.
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For milder cases of obstructive sleep apnoea, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes.
According to Mayo Clinic, these include:
- Lose weight if you’re overweight
- Exercise regularly
- Drink alcohol moderately, if at all, and don’t drink several hours before bedtime
- Quit smoking
- Use a nasal decongestant or allergy medications
- Don’t sleep on your back
- Avoid taking sedative medications such as anti-anxiety drugs or sleeping pills.
“They’re also called intra-oral devices, mandibular repositioning devices and mouth guards. They’re effective if you have mild or moderate OSA,” says the BLF.
As the health body explains, a trained health care professional working alongside the sleep service can custom-make an MAD for you.
“They’ll make impressions of your upper and lower teeth to make it,” it adds.
If your sleep apnoea is caused by something that can’t be treated through lifestyle changes or oral devices, you may need surgery.
“You may be able to have surgery to remove any excess tissue in your throat, for example, or to remove your tonsils, if they are causing your sleep apnoea,” explains Bupa.
According to the health body, other procedures use laser or radiofrequency ablation (heat from radio waves) to reduce the amount of tissue around your soft palate or uvula.
The uvula is a fleshy tissue that is flanked on both sides by the tonsils.
|These treatments may not work as well as a CPAP machine,” adds the NHS.
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