If you or somebody you know is a heavy snorer there is a possibility they are suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?
OSA is caused by obstruction of the airway. There is a range of snoring which goes from the very mild occasional snorer through to the worst – the snorer with OSA.
OSA occurs when you stop breathing completely for 10 seconds or more when asleep. Most people with OSA do this more than once during a nights sleep. This usually means that the airway has completely collapsed and until the brain wakes up there is no air movement.
How do I know if my snoring is a problem?
Snoring may not be severe enough to cause OSA but it can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness. This can be a problem particularly for those whose job involves operating machinery or driving. OSA sufferers have an increased risk of many health problems including heart attacks, strokes, headaches, sexual impotence and high blood pressure. Unfortunately it can also lead to depression, impaired intellectual function and motor vehicle accidents.
What can be done about this?
There are simple measures that can be taken in the first instance such as cutting down on alcohol, stopping smoking and losing weight. Weight reduction can be difficult though for snorers who are already tired through lack of sleep and do not feel they have the energy to exercise and therefore eat more to try and regain their energy. There are various products on the market all of which are designed to improve snoring. A certain amount of trial and error is therefore involved in getting a contraption to work for you but this can be very time consuming.
If alcohol reduction, smoking cessation and weight loss are not enough, it is essential to establish a sound diagnosis from a qualified specialist as to:
- How bad the problem is
- Where the problem is
- What needs to be done about it
Mr Banerjee has considerable experience in treating patients with sleep and snoring disorders and receives referrals from two of the largest sleep disorder clinics in the UK.
Management of the problem starts with quantifying the problem. This is done by two validated questionnaires and taking a full history. Following this patients are offered a visual inspection of the airway via the latest fibreoptic techniques. Once this is completed it is possible to give an opinion on where the airway is most likely to be compromised.
In order to objectively evaluate this Mr Banerjee has a state of the art system which allows the patient to go home with a small computer controlled monitoring device that can accurately record where and when the airway narrows and/or closes during the night. This equipment also measures the oxygen level in the blood, the noise level of snoring, and even which sleeping position produces the most airway collapse. No injections are required and once the data has been downloaded and analysed the best form of treatment can be offered.
If you would like to arrange a consultation with Mr Banerjee to look into this condition further please contact us.