Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder which is thought to affect over 1.5 million people in Australia – or 5% of the population. Most often found in males over the age of 60, OSA involves repeated occurrences of the throat being obstructed – either partially or completely – during a night’s sleep. This can happen numerous times without the subject ever realising they have a medical problem.
COULD YOU BE AFFECTED BY THIS COMMON SLEEP DISORDER?
People who suffer from OSA may not be aware that they have a sleep disorder at all, which explains why up to 90% of occurrences of the condition worldwide are undiagnosed. OSA sufferers tend to snore loudly and toss and turn during the night, which can be disturbing both for them and their partner. The disruptive effects of OSA sometimes manifest themselves through gasping or choking, however, this isn’t always the case. If you do any of the above, it’s likely that your partner will have made you aware.
If you are unaware of any of the above occurring during your average sleep, think about whether or not you’re regularly tired during the day, especially during the afternoon. Disrupted sleep could have a big impact on your daily life – people with OSA are two and a half times more likely to be involved in a car accident than others [Source].
WHY YOU SHOULD GET CHECKED
Whether you’re young or old, male or female, if you or a partner has noticed any symptoms of OSA, you should seek a diagnosis from a medical professional. Undiagnosed OSA can lead to increased blood pressure and more serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke or diabetes.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
If you suspect that you may be suffering from OSA, it’s recommended that you consult your local GP who can diagnose your symptoms via a sleep study and, hopefully, improve your condition. Numerous treatments are available, including the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) method.