Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

The most common type of sleep apnoea is called ‘Obstructive Sleep Apnoea’ (OSA) and is a condition where you stop breathing while you are sleeping. When we sleep the muscles of the throat relax and, in some people, this can affect the flow of air into the lungs. If the airway is almost completely closed and very little air is moving through, this is called a ‘hypopnoea’. If the airway is completely blocked and no air is moving through, this is called an ‘apnoea’. When air is not moving in and out of the lungs properly, oxygen (O2) levels fall, and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the body rise. This causes the brain to react by waking you up and reopening the airway to correct the levels of O2 and CO2. This process can repeat hundreds of times each night and seriously interrupts your ability to have a good quality sleep.
Patients with OSA often report the following symptoms:
• Fatigue
• Unrefreshed sleep
• Headaches
• Poor concentration
• Irritability
• Depression / anxiety
• Poor memory
Aside from having a poor quality sleep, OSA causes some significant strain on the body, particularly on the cardiovascular system. It increases your risk of:
• High blood pressure
• Heart failure
• Stroke
• Atrial Fibrillation
• Coronary artery disease
• Heart attack
There are many contributing factors that increase your risk for OSA. A common cause is overweight and obesity which increases the adipose tissue (fat tissue) around the neck and chest which can then cause OSA. There are treatments for OSA; weight loss, reduction in alcohol intake and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are three of the most common recommendations for management of OSA.

If you suspect you may have OSA please speak to your GP or MedSurg Weight Loss doctor.