The most common sleep problem that we come across is Sleep Apnoea and it is estimated that at least 9% of women and 24% of men are affected by sleep apnoea. There are a variety of risk factors which will increase your likelihood of being affected.
The three main types of Sleep Apnoea are:
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), this is the most common which occurs when the throat muscles relax, causing the air passage to collapse and obstruct breathing during sleep.
Central Sleep Apnoea, which happens when the brain sends incorrect signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Complex Sleep Apnoea Syndrome, this occurs when someone has both Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and Central Sleep Apnoea, also known as Treatment-Emergent Central Sleep Apnoea.
Signs and Symptoms
- Loud snoring
- Waking up with a headache/ fuzzy head
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Unexplained excessive tiredness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Episodes of ceasing to breathe at night (most commonly witnessed by your sleeping partner)
- Waking up abruptly with shortness of breath
- Irritability/ anxiety
- Attention problems
Anyone can have Sleep Apnoea, however there are certain factors that increase your risk:
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
- Excess weight - Obese individuals are four times more at risk than the average person. Fat deposits around the upper airway may obstruct breathing. However, it must be noted that not all people who have Sleep Apnoea are overweight
- Sex - Males are twice as likely to have sleep apnoea, women however are more at risk after menopause
- Age - Chances of sleep apnoea increases significantly with age
- Smoking - Smokers are three times more likely to suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea compared to non-smokers. Smoking increases inflammation and the amount of fluid retention in the upper airway, this will most likely reduce after long term periods of not smoking
- Use of alcohol, tranquilizers, sedatives and other medications - These substances relax the throat muscles, which increases the amount and likelihood of apnoeas (periods of not breathing)
- A narrowed airway. Some people have a naturally narrower throat - Enlarged tonsils or adenoids may also block the airway, this is often responsible for children with sleep apnoea
- Family history - People with family history of sleep apnoea are at increased risk
- Deviated Septum - This can cause breathing problems via nasal blockages
Central Sleep Apnoea
- Age - Those who are middle-aged and older have a higher risk of having Central Sleep Apnoea
- Certain medications - Medication such as opioids and anti-depressants can increase the risk of Central Sleep Apnoea
- Heart disorders - Individuals with congestive heart disease are at a higher risk of having Central Sleep Apnoea
- Stroke - Individuals who have suffered from a stroke are at a higher risk of having Central Sleep Apnoea or Treatment-Emergent Sleep Apnoea
- Other illnesses - There are many other illnesses which affect the nervous system, which may also cause a pre-disposition to Central Sleep Apnoea
Complete our Sleep Apnoea Assessment to see if you have any signs and symptoms of this serious Sleep Disorder.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep Apnoea Episode
Living with Sleep Apnoea
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13 Grosvenor Road, Wrexham LL11 1BS