Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome
What is obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome?
Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome is a clinical disorder marked by frequent pauses in breathing during sleep usually accompanied by loud snoring. These pauses cut off the oxygen supply to your body for a few seconds and halt the removal of carbon dioxide. As a result of this, your brain briefly wakes you up, re-opens the airways and re-starts breathing. This can occur many times during the night and makes proper sleep impossible. During the day you may experience excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty in concentrating or headaches. At night, snoring is the most common feature.
Diagnosis and management
Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome is diagnosed through polysomnography, a method of recording body activity during sleep; and pulse oximetry, which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood at any time. Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome is not a life-threatening condition in itself, but it can result in serious problems such as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. The disease can impact on the quality of life, but can be easily managed. One of the treatments is continuous positive airway pressure, which forces air through a mask into the airways so that they do not close.