What are the warning signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)?
A person with OSA may not be aware that they stop breathing while sleeping. Quite often, it will be the partner, family or friends who see the symptoms first.
However, the patient may notice that they:
- feel excessively tired during the day
- snore very loudly (although not everyone who snores has OSA)
- wake up at night choking or gasping for air
Other signs that you might have OSA include:
- difficulty concentrating
- morning headaches
- regularly waking up during the night to go to the toilet
- restless sleep.
OSA is more common in people who are:
- aged over 45 years
- have other medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
If you answer ‘yes’ to two or more of the following questions you are at high risk of having moderate to severe OSA and should be formally assessed for OSA.
1. Do you snore loudly (louder than talking or loud enough to be heard through closed doors)?
2. Do you often feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the daytime?
3. Has anyone observed you stop breathing during your sleep?
4. Do you have, or are you being treated for, high blood pressure?
Moderate to severe sleep apnoea is diagnosed by a physician, who will review the patient’s medical history, check for abnormalities and monitor their sleep through various means.
A sleep study, or polysomnography, which can be carried out at a sleep clinic or in your home, helps to determine an index of apnoea/hypopnoea events per hour of sleep (AHI).
It involves overnight monitoring of your:
- brain waves
- blood oxygen levels
- heart rate
- eye and leg movements.
- oxygen levels
- heart rate and brain waves.
With all this information, the physician will be able to confirm if the patient suffers from sleep apnoea/hypopnea and then recommend the most appropriate treatment.