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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS)

Apnoea refers to the momentarily cessation of airflow during sleep lasting at least 10 seconds. It is due to contraction of the throat muscles leading to the constriction of the upper airway. The sleeping partner may report loud snoring with actual episodes of breathing cessation and the patient may report sudden arousals from sleep associated with choking. Common daytime symptoms include awakening with a dry mouth, early morning headaches, poor concentration, excessive daytime sleepiness and mood changes.

What are the risk factors of developing obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome?

Male sex and advancing age are known risk factors to OSAS.  Modifiable risk factors include excess weight, smoking, alcohol and drug use.

What are the complications of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome?

During apnoea the blood oxygen levels drop and this causes a strain to the cardiovascular system and may result to high blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes.  People with OSAS are also at a high risk of developing diabetes, high cholesterol levels and liver problems as well as being at a high risk of developing complications after surgery.

Apart from loss of libido in both male and female partners that is associated with OSAS, sleeping partners of loud snorers also get sleep deprived and may thus face the same consequences.  Some partners tend to move away from the bedroom and sleep in a different room.

How is obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome diagnosed?

The diagnosis of OSAS is made from the symptoms reported by the patient and the sleeping partner. The ENT doctor then examines the patient’s nose, mouth and throat to assess any abnormality that may lead to airway blockage.

To be able to make an objective diagnosis of OSAS or any other sleep disorder the patient will then need to be admitted for an overnight test , also known as a polysomnography at the SDTC.

What is the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome?

The first step in the treatment of OSAS is management of the modifiable risk factors. Patients with excess weight must undertake necessary measures to cut their weight. Cessation of alcohol ingestion and cigarette smoking should also be considered in patients with OSAS.

Use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device is the gold standard in the management of OSAS. This acts as a pneumatic stent that prevents the airway from collapsing during inspiration.

Surgery of the collapsing part of the upper airway offers a more permanent solution to patients with moderate to severe OSAS. Our ENT surgeons have been performing surgery to patients with OSAS with very successful results. (get testimonials)

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