Sleep apnoea is when breathing stops intermittently during sleep. The most common form condition of this is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and this is frequently managed by sleep physicians and ENT surgeons. In someone with OSA, during sleep the muscles of the upper airway will relax, causing the airway to 'collapse'. This interrupts the flow of oxygen and wakes the person from sleep briefly ('microarousal'). This causes the normal sleep pattern to be disturbed.
Snoring is essentially the mildest form of OSA. Snoring is the sound that results from excessive vibration of the upper airway soft tissues (e.g. the soft palate). But it does not have the other features of OSA such as the daytime sleepiness or the memory and attention changes. It is also not dangerous in terms of accident risk and cardiovascular risk (see below).
It can be. There is an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents in patients with sleep apnoea and OSA sufferers also have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
Because of these reasons, as well as the 'quality of life' effect of the sleep deprivation, OSA in all but its mildest forms needs to be treated.
The causes of OSA are multiple. They include things such as:
First it needs to be accurately diagnosed with a sleep study. This also helps me to grade the severity of your sleep apnoea.
Secondly, given the range of causes of OSA the treatment options are varied and patient-dependent. This requires detailed assessment by an experienced ENT surgeon and tailoring of a treatment plan to suit you. Treatment may require a combination of lifestyle changes, CPAP, medical treatments, splints or surgery. Arrange a consultation with me if you want to discuss these options in greater detail.
We are currently in unchartered waters with the COVID-19 pandemic. At ENTSA we are, as always, committed to the health and wellbeing of our staff and our patients. Ear, nose and throat examinations and surgery however are considered extremely high risk for virus transmission and so we are making changes in our practice.
The current recommendations from the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ASOHNS) are:
As a result of this, our practice is changing. We are still here to care for new and existing patients. We have established a Telehealth system to enable continuity of care for existing patients and a ‘non-contact’ option for new patients to access an initial assessment and commencement of treatment.
Please call us to discuss Telehealth options on: (08) 7200 2539
We will still see some patients in the office however this will be limited to protect the health of you and our staff.
If you attend, we ask you to comply with the following: