Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a common condition characterized by recurrent episodes of complete or partial obstruction of the upper airway, often resulting in reduced oxygen flow to the brain and arousals from sleep. It is often associated with snoring.
The classic daytime manifestations are excessive sleepiness, unrefreshing sleep, fatigue, impaired concentration.
Sleep apnoea is accompanied by significant cognitive and behavioural dysfunctions. Deficits have been observed especially in the area of attention and memory.
Obstructive sleep apnoea has been linked to depression, anxiety, nocturnal panic attacks and even psychotic symptoms, but depressive symptoms are most commonly reported. In fact, depressive symptoms are considered to be a typical clinical manifestation of sleep apnoea.
A polysomnography study - overnight sleep study that we offer in our sleep clinic - is essential for appropriate diagnosis and management of sleep apnoea.
For cases of sleep apnea, a treatment which is a lifestyle change is sleeping on one's side, which can prevent the tongue and palate from falling backwards in the throat and blocking the airway. Another is avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills, which can relax throat muscles, contributing to the collapse of the airway at night.