Sleep Apnoea

What is sleep apnoea?

  • Sleep apnoea is a common condition that affects around 7.8% of men in Australia, according to the latest large study of more than 13,000 Australian men.
  • Sleep apnoea increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension and the risk of daytime accidents (such as falling asleep at the wheel).
  • It also increases the risk of diabetes (apnoea increases insulin resistance).
  • Excess weight and having a large neck size (43cm or more for men and 40.6cm or more for women), are both risk factors for sleep apnoea, while hypertension and family history of sleep apnoea are also risk factors.
  • Sleep apnoea is generally more common in men than women, however the risk for women increases after menopause.
  • Untreated sleep apnoea is linked to serious medical conditions including high blood pressure or heart problems, due to sudden drops in blood oxygen levels, type 2 diabetes and people with sleep apnoea are also more likely to have complications with medications and surgery because they’re prone to breathing problems especially when sedated.
  • People with sleep apnoea are also more likely to have abnormal liver function test results.
  • Sleep Apnoea can also impact other family members, with loud snoring linked to sleep deprivation in partners.
  • Second hand snoring is linked to a host of health problems for partners, including hearing loss, anxiety and relationship problems.

What are the symptoms of Sleep Apnoea?

Sign of sleep apnoea include

  • Loud or frequent snoring on back or side (however not everyone who snores has sleep apnoea)
  • Silent pauses in breathing
  • Choking or gasping sounds
  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Morning headaches
  • Weight Gain
  • Mood swings, depression and irritability
  • Loss of libido
  • Memory loss

What is the diagnosis for sleep apnoea?

  • Assessing your sleep apnoea is the first step to treatment.
  • A dedicated sleep physician is best-placed to decide on any differential diagnosis of your sleep issue and whether your require a home sleep test of a special laboratory sleep study.
  • Whilst 80% of people are suitable for home sleep tests, the remaining 20% require in depth lab testing, and generally this smaller group of patients include people with a previous history of heart disease and past strokes or other conditions.
  • If for instance sleep thrashing is involved, this can occasionally be a subtle sign of early Parkinson’s disease.
  • This means you will have combined care between the sleep physician and therapist which is a rare find.

What is the treatment for sleep apnoea?

  • Once you have had your sleep test, Dr Herath will discuss your suitability for CPAP use at home, as well as other lifestyle strategies to improve your sleep apnoea.
    This includes
  • Weight loss strategies
  • Referrals to specialists if there are other underlying issues increasing your apnoea (eg a referral to an ENT doctor for sinusitis).
  • A CPAP trial so you can test and troubleshoot any issues.
  • Onsite purchasing of the very latest, quietest and lightest home and travel machines for patients to purchase.
  • SRS will also assist with RMS and transport related licensing matters relating to sleep apnoea, especially with commercial drivers. We treat this as an urgent matter with no extra cost to patients.