One in every five Australians snore. While it is often of no medical significance, for some people it can suggest a more serious problem of obstructive sleep apnoea. This is why people who snore should be assessed for obstructive sleep apnoea by a sleep physician. Snoring of course can also affect the partner, making it extremely frustrating for them to sleep with all the noise!
Obstructive sleep apnoea is a condition which causes interruption to breathing during the night. This causes the person to choke or gasp for air, however, as they are asleep, they are totally unaware. When awake however, they may complain of tiredness, daytime sleepiness and poor concentration.
During the day the airways are held open by the muscle tone, but at night the muscles relax and can “collapse” thus causing obstruction of the airways. A sleep physician will recommend the best course of treatment depending on the degree of the obstruction. This may involve lifestyle changes, surgery, CPAP machine or an appliance.