Snoring & Sleep Apnoea

Snoring is the noisy sound that is produced during sleep when the free flow of air through the passages of the back of the throat, nose and mouth are obstructed.

Snoring, Sleep Apnoea & Septoplasty Surgery in Sydney

This area is the collapsible part of the airway where the tongue and upper throat meet the uvula and soft palate. When we breathe in and out this tissue vibrates and can produce the sounds of snoring. Snoring is more common in men than it is in women. Snoring becomes more common as we age

Causes of Snoring

The most common cause of snoring is obstruction of the nasal passages caused by sinus infections, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, allergies, deviated septum.

Being overweight, certain medications and alcohol cause the muscles of the soft palate, tongue and neck to relax too much and the tongue falls backwards into the airway. There is greater tissue vibration and this leads to snoring.

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Treatment Options for Snoring

Treatment options include non-surgical as well as surgical.

Non-surgical Options:

  • Nasal medication and devices: Nasal steroid sprays and decongestants may be used to decrease the inflammation and stuffiness of the nose. These reduce and shrink the swollen blood vessels in the nose that causes the nasal congestion.
  • Adhesive nasal strips may be recommended and these are placed over the outer portion of the nose to widen the nostrils and make breathing easier.
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a device that stops the narrowing of the airways during breathing in and out and provides a persistent increased pressure. This is the gold standard in snoring solutions.
  • Behavioural changes: This may include losing weight if you are overweight or obese. Giving up smoking and avoiding alcohol or medications that sedate. Changing sleeping positions and elevating the bed can also be helpful.
  • Dental devices hold the jaw forward and may be helpful in mild snoring.

Surgical Options

 Surgery for snoring includes:

  • Polypectomy if nasal polyps are present.
  • Septoplasty is there is a deviated nasal septum.

Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea is a sleeping disorder where there is an abnormal breathing pattern during sleep. There can be pauses in breathing that can last 20 seconds or more or your breathing can become very shallow. This causes sleep disruption and there is a reduced oxygen level in the blood.

Types of Sleep Apnoea

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

This occurs when there is an obstruction of the airway which prevents sufficient airflow. This is the most common type of sleep apnoea.

Central Sleep Apnoea

The brain signals to the muscles are interrupted in this type of sleep apnoea.

Mixed Sleep Apnoea

This is a combination of both obstructive sleep apnoea and central sleep apnoea.

Causes of Sleep Apnoea

Sleep Apnoea may be caused by:

  • Nasal passage obstruction caused from a deviated septum.
  • Allergies
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Sinus infections
  • Swollen turbinates
  • Obesity

Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Poor concentration and memory

Sleep Apnoea Treatment

This includes:

  • Nasal medication and devices: Nasal steroid sprays and decongestants may be used to decrease the inflammation and stuffiness of the nose. These reduce and shrink the swollen blood vessels in the nose that cause the nasal congestion.
  • Adhesive nasal strips may be recommended and these are placed over the outer portion of the nose to widen the nostrils and make breathing easier.
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a device that stops the narrowing of the airways during breathing in and out and provides a persistent increased pressure.
  • Behavioural changes: This may include losing weight if you are overweight or obese. Giving up smoking and avoiding alcohol or medications that sedate. Changing sleeping positions and elevating the bed can also be helpful.
  • Dental devices hold the jaw forward and may be helpful in mild snoring.
  • Surgery: Polypectomy if nasal polyps are present and septoplasty if is there is a deviated nasal septum.

Risks of untreated Sleep Apnoea

If obstructive sleep apnoea is left untreated it may lead to complications such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, heart rhythm irregularities, heart disease, heart failure and even death.

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At Dr Katzen’s Sydney practice we will take a thorough medical history and physical examination. We will examine your throat and nose to determine if there are any nasal obstructions. Your weight and neck circumference may also be measured.