Are you able to enjoy a sound night’s sleep or do you wake up tossing and turning? Does your partner complain that you constantly snore? As opposed to feeling rested in the morning, do you find that you are tired and irritable throughout the day?
While there are many disorders associated with sleep, one of the most common is ironically the very same condition which is unfamiliar to the average individual.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) affects nearly 1 in 4 men and a smaller percentage of women (1).
It is therefore a good idea to look at what causes this condition, why snoring can represent an important indicator, and the steps you can take to obtain a well-deserved rest in the evening.
What are the Causes and Symptoms of this Sleep Disorder?
OSA is a condition which causes the upper passages of your airways to relax and close up when you begin to sleep. In turn, this partially obstructs normal breathing patterns. Your oxygen supply begins to get cut off, you start to breathe laboriously and ultimately, you will wake up due to a lack of air. This is why many individuals who suffer from this condition will often find themselves waking and gasping for breath.
Having said this, there are also a handful of notable symptoms which could indicate that you have OSA:
- Loud and constant snoring.
- The inability to obtain quality sleep.
- Broken sleeping patterns.
- The tendency to sleep with your mouth open.
- A condition known as dry mouth (due to breathing orally as opposed to through the nasal passages).
- Waking up with a headache
- Sleepiness and difficulty concentrating during the day
Recognising these symptoms is the first step towards obtaining a firm diagnosis. Snoring plays a particularly critical role and in order to appreciate its impact upon your quality of life, it is wise to take a look at this variable in greater detail.
The Role of Snoring
It is first important to recognise that most people snore on occasion. According to Jennifer Hines from Alaska Sleep Clinic, snoring happens when air is prevented from flowing freely through the nose and throat due to a physical obstruction, which causes tissue vibration. This obstruction can be caused by a variety of factors including excess weight, throat and nasal structure (ie. deviated septum or enlarged tonsils), smoking, alcohol consumption, or allergies. Those who suffer from OSA, however will often snore extremely loud. This snoring may also be accompanied by sounds such as choking, the cessation of breathing for very short periods of time or gasping for air.
The main issue is that those who have OSA are often unaware that their snoring is presenting a problem. It is more frequent that their partners will notice that there is an issue. We should also mention that there is a difference between normal snoring and the snoring and gasping which could indicate OSA.
What Variables Play a Role?
Studies have discovered that OSA is caused by several factors. Males are more likely to be diagnosed with this condition than females. It seems that older age also plays a role; those who are overweight and regular smokers are also at a higher risk.
Individuals with very thick necks will be more prone to developing OSA over time. Alcohol and certain types of medication could also have an impact upon this condition. So it is wise to talk to your doctor about changes you should make to alleviate the symptoms.
Are There Any Dangers?
While snoring in and of itself is normally harmless, excessive snoring (and its relation to OSA) is actually associated with some potentially serious long-term health conditions. Some of these include (2):
- Congestive heart failure.
- Liver problems.
- Atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat).
- High blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.
While the physical dangers are obviously worrisome, let’s not forget that failing to obtain an adequate amount of sleep due to OSA can impact your quality of life. You will feel tired throughout the day. Your mind will not remain as “sharp” as it would otherwise be. Your driving can be affected if you’re drowsy at the wheel. You might even develop problems with a partner or significant other.
Many studies have likewise shown that a lack of quality sleep increases the chances of anxiety and depression. This is why discovering whether or not you have this condition is a critical first step.
First Step: The Intus In-Home Sleep Apnoea Test
As this condition has been studied for decades, its mechanics and causes are understood to a greater degree than many other chronic illnesses. The first step is to discover whether or not you suffer from excessive levels of snoring.
The good news is that in-home tests can provide accurate and insightful results. Simple equipment can be employed in order to monitor variables such as the levels of oxygen within your blood as well as your sleeping heart rate. The results will determine whether or not you have OSA.
Not only is this type of test extremely straightforward, but with the Intus In-Home Sleep Apnoea Test, you will normally be provided with the findings within seven days. (With the NHS test, you might wait for weeks to get your results.)
Although your snoring might represent nothing more than an occasional issue, there are other times when it can be directly related to sleep apnoea. This is why obtaining a proper diagnosis is critical if you hope to be provided with reliable solutions.
To take the first step in learning if you have sleep apnoea, please order your Intus in-home sleep test kit today. Excellent treatments for sleep apnoea are available. Get the good night’s sleep you deserve.