Sleep Apnea: The Facts

1. Sleep apnea is when breathing stops entirely or becomes very shallow while you are sleeping.

2. By definition, a sleep apnea pause lasts for longer than 10 seconds, and depending on the severity of the sleep apnea, can occur hundreds of times throughout the night.

3. Sleep apnea affects approximately 3-5 per cent of the Australian population (almost 1.1 million people).

4. Only 10 – 20 per cent of Australians who have sleep apnea are treated for the problem, meaning that up to 90 per cent of sufferers go undiagnosed.

5. There are three types of sleep apnea:

a. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition which occurs during sleep, due to the narrowing or total closure of the airway.

b. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is a less common type of sleep apnea and is related to the central nervous system, rather than an airway obstruction. It occurs when the brain fails to send an electrical signal to the muscles which control breathing.

c. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of OSA and CSA.

6. Snoring is often a key indicator of sleep apnea, however it is not always related to sleep apnea.

7. Symptoms of sleep apnea include fatigue, headaches, going to the bathroom frequently throughout the night and feeling sleepy during the day (even if you’ve had a full night’s sleep).

8. If untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications including high blood pressure and heart problems.

9. You are more at risk of sleep apnea if you are male, overweight, a smoker, or over the age of 65. Women going through menopause or pregnancy are also highly susceptible to sleep apnea.

10. Sleep apnea is treatable. The main treatments for sleep apnea include:

a. A custom made SomnoDent sleep apnea appliance. SomnoDent is a medical device, which is worn like a mouth guard. It is custom made to fit over the upper and lower teeth, adjusting the alignment of the jaw to ensure the airway remains open throughout the night.

b. Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) machine – a CPAP machine uses a mask that provides a constant stream of air throughout the night to keep the airway open.

c. Surgery by an Ear Nose and Throat surgeon to clear the airway.

For more information contact or call 1800 445 770.

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