A Guide to Sleep Apnoea

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Getting a restful night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health and doctors agree that the benefits are well worth going to bed early for. Sleep is important for many reasons ranging from allowing the body to create appetite suppressing hormones leading to weight loss, to ensuring we wake up feeling happier after your brain and body gets sufficient rest.

There’s little disagreement about the importance of sleep, so why is it when we wake up from a sleep, we often don’t feel rested? Introduce Sleep Apnoea to the mix, and you might have the answer.

A Guide to Sleep Apnoea |

What is Sleep Apnoea?

An increasingly serious medical condition, Sleep Apnoea is defined by a lack of oxygen going into the body while asleep, usually caused by irregular or interrupted breathing. If you’re a heavy snorer, or wake up feeling exhausted, you may have Sleep Apnoea and not even know, which could lead to increased tiredness, decreased mood or even increased frequency of nightmares.
The idea of your body not breathing at seemingly random moments while you’re asleep is a harrowing thought to anyone, so to avoid the fear, let’s explore the facts.

A Guide to Sleep Apnoea |

3 Types of Sleep Apnoea

There are three main researched forms of Sleep Apnoea: Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, central Sleep Apnoea, and complex Sleep Apnoea syndrome.

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea – This is the most common type of Sleep Apnoea and it occurs when the muscles in your mouth and the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. This will stop the regular flow of oxygen getting into your system, your body will panic, and you will briefly wake up to regulate breathing before falling back to sleep. This can happen up to 30 times an hour in extreme cases, and most people who suffer from this type of Sleep Apnoea claim to have slept soundly all night, completely unaware of their condition.
  2. Central Sleep Apnoea – Central Sleep Apnoea, however, is a little different. Central Sleep Apnoea occurs when your brain fails to send any signals to your breathing muscles. This type is much less common than obstructive Sleep Apnoea, as it’s mainly caused by pre-existing conditions like Heart Failure, Kidney Disease or Stroke. Additionally, Sleep Apnoea can be aside effect from taking chemicals such as Oxycintin & Codeine or being exposed to a very high-altitude, but both exceptions are, thankfully, very manageable.
  3. Complex Sleep Apnoea Syndrome – Finally, there’s Complex Sleep Apnoea Syndrome, which is almost identical to Central Sleep Apnoea, except the circumstances for it are yet unknown in the world of medicine.
A Guide to Sleep Apnoea |

Who Does Sleep Apnoea Affect, and How Can We Beat It?

Now that we know more about the beast we’re facing, let’s learn how to fight it.
There are many causes of Sleep Apnoea, and lucky for us a great number of them are lifestyle choices.

  1. The first and most common symptom of Sleep Apnoea is obesity. Fat deposits around the neck and airway can cause blockages when the head is tilted in a certain way.
  2. Substances that relax your airways also put you at risk. This includes alcohol, sleeping pills or tranquilizers.
  3. Smoking, too, is a risk factor in developing Sleep Apnoea.
A Guide to Sleep Apnoea |

Consult a GP

We’re not surprising anyone when we say that living a healthy lifestyle will help fix a great deal of health problems you may have. The struggle of changing a lifestyle and turning your health around is one of the toughest decisions for someone to face, but if you’re suffering from Sleep Apnoea, it’s never too late to consult a GP. That’s right, the ultimate guide to combating Sleep Apnoea isn’t as complicated as you might have thought!

A Guide to Sleep Apnoea |

Factors Contributing to Sleep Apnoea

There are those of us who are in more complicated, less controllable circumstances:

  • Men, for example, are two to three times more likely to develop Sleep Apnoea than women are.
  • Having a family history of Sleep Apnoea may play a contributing factor in its development as well.
  • Previous medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and Parkinson’s disease are some conditions that are also likely to increase the risk of developing Sleep Apnoea.
  • The biggest contributor to the development of Sleep Apnoea in an unmanageable circumstance, is ageing.
A Guide to Sleep Apnoea |

Sleep Apnoea and Aged Care

Between 13 and 30 percent of people aged 65 develop Sleep Apnoea. As we get older, we are naturally at a higher risk of Sleep Apnoea itself, as well as the diseases and conditions mentioned above that cause it. This turns Sleep Apnoea into a silent but deadly problem for aging Australians, if left unchecked.

The additional tiredness, lower cognitive function, and risk of cardiovascular problems brought on by Sleep Apnoea could stand to lower the quality of life for anyone suffering from it: Not only does this condition affect people physically, but there’s a much greater risk that those suffering from Sleep Apnoea will have a higher chance of also suffering from depression or anxiety as a result.

ConnectAbility Can Help as You Get Older

Fortunately, ConnectAbility is devoted to supporting aging Australians who need their help. From helping you find the right doctors to help diagnose and prevent Sleep Apnoea, getting you involved in their Heartmoves exercise program, or even finding government funding for your situation (which could help pay for machines that help you to breathe easy all night), ConnectAbility are dedicated to keeping your quality of life high and supporting your life.

Don’t let Sleep Apnoea lower your standard of living, fight to take your nights back today by visiting them at connectability.org.au, by emailing at contact@connectabilityaus.org.au or by calling  02 4962 1000 (Newcastle) or  02 4349 3700 (Central Coast).

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