Sleep Apnoea in Adults

A good day begins with a good sleep. We all know what a day feels like when we have not had a restful sleep. Adult obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is the silent killer in our community today. It robs us of our health and productivity. OSA is more than just snoring.

OSA is the obstruction of breathing during sleep resulting in desaturation of blood oxygen level and brain arousals. This results in restless fragmented sleep and a cardiovascular system that is working hard at night to get oxygen through the body. This disease can be categorised into mild, moderate or severe. Moderate to severe OSA has been associated with multiple negative outcomes such as tiredness, lethargy, headaches, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular events, fatal accidents, and many others.   

How do we assess OSA? We can gather information from yourself and your sleeping partner (if applicable) about the rough severity of your symptoms and its effect on your wellbeing. Clinical examination supplemented by a flexible endoscopy in clinic will reveal sites of obstruction in the airway anatomy. The obstruction can occur anywhere from the nose, septum, turbinate, sinuses, tongue, jaw, palate, voice box. The Airway Architecture is intricately dynamic in 3D so identifying a site of obstruction can be challenging and it differs between  patients. 

Once sites of obstruction and clinical severity have been ascertained, a tailored treatment plan can be charted. Some patients may have a mild OSA that requires some lifestyle change, positional therapy or dental appliance. Others may have a very obvious anatomical obstruction that requires surgical correction, or may require a more accurate investigation with a formal sleep study to accurately assess severity and to consider non-surgical therapy such as a CPAP machine. 

All OSA treatment is tailored to the patients’ severity, anatomy, lifestyle, needs, and comorbidities. OSA treatment is a complementary, multidisciplinary long-term therapy. No single therapy can boast 100% success rate. The role of the ENT surgeon is to provide the best airway possible for sleep and in conjunction with Dentists, Maxillofacial Surgeons, and Sleep Specialists, offer the best plan for treatment for the patient.   

Getting an expert assessment and opinion is always a good first step. Please contact us for an appointment. Dr Levi is also available to provide educational talks on this topic.