During sleep apnoea, the brain is deprived of oxygen and this can have serious consequences.
Typically, a person with sleep apnoea snores loudly and there comes a point when the person apparently stops breathing, only to take a forceful deep breath in with a loud sound and sometimes the person actually wakes up. Sleep apnoea actually interferes with the quality of sleep and the person may feel tired most of the time, falling asleep as soon as there is any chance of sitting down and being distracted – sometimes even whilst driving – with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Sleep apnoea may increase the chances of the person developing high blood pressure and heart disease. There may be associated depression and persistent tiredness. Sleep apnoea is usually associated with obesity.
When to suspect sleep apnoea
A simple checklist can help identify possible cases of sleep apnoea. One such checklist is as follows:
Do you or your sleeping partner:
- snore loudly most/every night
- sometimes/often wake up at night with a choking feeling
- snort, choke, gasp or hold your breath while sleeping
- often wake up with a dry throat/mouth
- often wake up with a headache
- regularly feel exhausted even after a full nights sleep
- have high blood pressure
- are overweight
- sometimes/often experience irregular heartbeats
- have trouble with concentration and memory
- are frequently bad tempered, moody or irritable
If some or all of the above are true then it would be wise to discuss with your trusted medical professional.
Should sleep apnoea be suspected then it would be wise to check whether this is present and if so, how severe.
Assessment of sleep apnoea is done by means of a sleep study. During a sleep study, the person’s oxygen and breathing movements are continuously monitored and recorded. The information is downloaded on a computer and analysed by a sleep specialist, usually a respiratory physician.
Sleep studies are usually done in sleep laboratories – this involves the individual sleeping in a bed in hospital where the parameters are measured.
At the Professional Services Centre we are offering complete sleep study that is done in the comfort of your bedroom and which interferes very minimally with your natural sleep.
The procedure is simple. If a person suspects that there is the possibility of sleep apnoea and would like to proceed with sleep study, the person is instructed how to attach the equipment. The equipment consists of two, self-contained parts – a belt which is worn around the abdomen and a thimble like sheet which fits in the person’s finger.
When the person buckles up the belt and inserts the sheet in the finger, the equipment starts recording – all the patient needs to do is lie down and relax – eventually nodding off to sleep.
The following morning the equipment is returned to the Professional Services Centre and the data is downloaded and sent for analysis and reporting. The report will include a diagnosis and may include recommendations for any action that needs to be taken. These actions may include advice regarding weight loss if needed, sleep hygiene and may also include suggestions regarding the need for a CPAP machine which may need to be worn by the person and will help eliminate sleep apnoea by forcibly pushing in air into the patient’s airways.
Should a CPAP machine be required, the Professional Services Centre offers a service of advice and demonstration by product specialists in the field. During this session, the person will have the opportunity to get answers to any question related to the condition. This will ensure that one gets the very best equipment and masks depending on the particular needs of the person concerned.