As a result of sleep apnoea, the throat spasmodically closes while you’re asleep, choking off the body’s air supply
A study performed in Australia showed that 9% of women and 25% of men suffer difficulties during sleep. However, as a person gets older these numbers increase and as many as one in three elderly men have at least some form of mild sleep apnoea.
One theory that has been put forward has to do with the evolution of the human body. This theory states that from the Neanderthal man to now our jaws have been getting smaller. At the same time, we progressed from simple grunting noises to complex speech patterns. Due to this our tongues have become longer and descend deeper into the throat.
During sleep, when our bodies’ muscles including the deeper descending tongue relax, the tongue blocks the airway between the nose and the windpipe. This causes a person to stop breathing, resulting in higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the body. This then triggers the brain to wake the person up, often gasping for air. The consequence of this is poor quality sleep and high blood pressure which can ultimately lead to death from a stroke or heart attack.
At Hyde Park Dental Care in Sydney, we have Dr Joffe who can help you with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea…
Dr Joffe does a thorough examination of the mouth and patients who have signs and/or symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea are asked to fill in a questionnaire in order to obtain further information. If you want to ascertain if you are at risk of obstructive sleep apnoea, please complete this easy to fill out a questionnaire which focuses solely on what you are feeling or experiencing regarding your sleep patterns.
What is sleep apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is where the sufferer’s sleep is disturbed because of an obstruction to the airway during sleep.
The reason for this lack of airflow is due to a collapsed tissue including the tongue at the back of the throat which blocks the air to the lungs. The result of this is that there is a decrease in the amount of oxygen and an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide that reaches the heart, lungs and brain. Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the body forces it to wake up briefly and this can occur hundreds of times a night.
Sleep apnoea is a debilitating condition and due to the nature of this condition can lead to other serious health problems such as:
- Poor concentration
- Heart attack
Types of sleep apnoea…
There are three main forms of sleep apnoea:
- Obstructive sleep apnoea: the most common form of sleep apnoea, it occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway.
- Central sleep apnoea: this is not as common as obstructive sleep apnoea. This form of sleep apnoea involves the central nervous system and happens when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing.
- Complex sleep apnoea: this is a combination of the above two forms of sleep apnoea.
If you do have sleep apnoea, at Hyde Park Dental Care we have the solution. We use an Oral Appliance that is custom designed and worn like a mouth guard during sleep. The purpose of this mouth guard is to prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissue at the back of the throat by bringing the lower jaw and tongue forward, therefore allowing the airway to stay open for adequate air intake.
If you or your partner experience disturbed sleep, feel free to complete the questionnaire. This is an effective way to see how we at Hyde Park Dental Care can help you. After you fill in the questionnaire we will contact you to book an appointment with Dr Joffe.
For more information on sleep apnoea, or to book an appointment at our dental practice in Hyde Park Sydney, please do not hesitate to contact us.