Snoring is often treated as a joke but it can be a cause of social embarrassment, relationship strain and most importantly a sign that obstructive sleep apnea may be present.
The 2016 Sleep Health Foundation survey found frequent, loud snoring is reported by 24 per cent of men and 17 per cent of women.
Snoring by itself has not been shown to cause harm but when it's persistent and loud or has symptoms then it warrants investigation.
The vast majority of sleep apnea sufferers have only mild issues so many perceive their symptoms as a normal part of ageing, not realising that they have a reversible medical condition.
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Sleep apnea creates a physiological stress on the body which is a risk for high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm (e.g. atrial fibrillation), diabetes, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, motor vehicle accident and premature death.
Symptoms reported by the sufferer or their partner may include: sleepiness, snoring, tiredness, decreased concentration, reduced energy or fatigue, decreased memory, unrefreshing sleep, frequent urination at night, 'unusual' feeling in the airway, frequent waking, choking out of sleep, sweating at night, irritability and reduced libido.
The Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic performs home-based sleep studies and implements therapy to suit their clients' schedule and lifestyle.
"Clients choose the therapy that best suits their situation and goals," physiotherapist and director Dr Grant Willson of the Sleep and Lifestyle Clinic in Phillip said. "We keep across the latest research so our clients receive up-to-date advice."
Options may include:
- Weight loss
- Sleeping on your side (e.g. repositionary device)
- Jaw advancement splint
- Upper airway surgery
- Provent therapy (e.g.removable patches on nostrils)
- No treatment but with long term monitoring
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is a mask attached to a small and quiet machine next to bed (most look like alarm clocks) worn at night. Masks are more comfortable and light in recent years but CPAP requires supported adaption.
The therapy prevents the upper airway from collapsing, improving sleep, oxygen levels, symptoms and quality of life.
CPAP equipment is rented so changes can be made and unnecessary expense avoided.
When sleep apnea is moderate to severe or there are significant symptoms, the initial approach will be to usually offer CPAP or splint. Lifestyle modification, Provent or upper airway surgery are also considered.
"Quality products are available for rental and purchase, along with unbiased recommendations," Dr Willson said.
"Our staff provide you with the advice and training needed to maximise the benefits of CPAP therapy. We can also provide an opinion on a sleep study performed at another centre."
Call the clinic, 61 Dundas Ct, Phillip, on 6162 1802 or see sleepandlifestyle.com.au