Do you feel tired a lot of the time?
Sleep apnoea is a newly diagnosable disease modality that affects many people, old and young in our community. The symptoms of the disease are daytime sleepiness, lethargy, irritability and sometimes depression. The disease is characterised by breath holding at nigh time during sleep as many as 30 times each hour. This deprives the brain of oxygen and can lead to serious medical consequences such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, micro sleeping while driving, and heart arrhythmias. The person affected by this disease may not be aware that they have it and it is usually a partner who notices persistent breath holding during sleep. Snoring, gasping for breath and feeling like you can’t get enough air are some common symptoms. Dentists undergo training courses on how to diagnose and treat this disease. The treatments available include a Pap device, which is positive airway pressure, and dental devices that hold the jaw forward during the sleep to keep the airway open. In extreme cases patients may need surgery.