What is Sleep Apnea

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

With Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) an increase in weight or a reduction in muscle tone can trigger the change from a partially blocked airway (snoring) to a completely blocked airway (apnea). Obstructive sleep apnea ranges from mild to severe. This is established using an Apnea/Hypopnoea Index (AHI) which measures the number of apneas plus the number of hypoapnoeas.

Sleep apneas

Each apnea will cause some breaths to be missed, leading to a rise of carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Typically the sufferer will become conditioned to the effects such as daytime drowsiness and headaches upon waking. It is common for the sufferer to be completely unaware of the disorder, and remain undiagnosed for several years. Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The estimated prevelance of this serious sleeping disorder ranges from study to study, but it should be noted that in every confirmed case of obstructive sleep apnea the person diagnosed is also a snorer. The two conditions are very closely linked. Often your sleeping partner, or others close to you, will notice the symptoms of sleep apnea first. The symptoms are likely to include loud snoring interupted by pauses and gasps, frequent daytime sleepiness, and morning headaches.

Why do I need a treatment for sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and arrhythmias. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea you are 30% more likely to have a heart attack or die prematurely. The condition has also been linked to memory loss and brain damage. If you frequently feel tired during the day it is possible you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. While obstructive sleep apnea is closely linked to snoring, it is far more damaging and potentially life threatening.

Online Tests

The industry standard for screening patients for obstructive sleep apnea is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale test. Please use our online version to test yourself.

Epworth Test

If you are concerned about your risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea you can also take our online screening test called the Berlin Questionnaire. This is also an industry standard and will give a good indication.

The most important risk factor in developing obstructive sleep apnea is being overweight. Please use our online Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator to assess your weight.