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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea unfortunately has become common within the UK, with approximately of 1.5 million adults being affected with this sleep condition. Often its thought to be only snoring. This occurs as a result of narrowing or closure of the upper airway during sleep, which naturally disturbs the soundness of one’s sleep.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?

When you breathe, air travels through your mouth and/or nose, down the throat through the windpipe and into your lungs; the narrowest part of that pathway being in the back of your throat. While sleeping, the muscles relax which makes for the pathway to narrow, which as a result can cause snoring. However for some people, the throat closes significantly and as a result enough air can’t get through to the lungs; the brain then sends an alarm to open the airway. Most often this is associated with the individual experiencing a disturbance or brief arousal from their sleep- the brain reactivates the muscles that hold the throat open so that the air gets through again and then brain goes back to sleep. This in its entirety is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.


The core symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea include excessive daytime sleeping, snoring and witnessed apnoeas or hypopnoeas (blockages or partial blockages of the airway leading to breathing cessations). Often miss diagnosed as snoring. Though, anyone can be affected by this condition, however this is more common within males, the middle aged, the elderly and those who are overweight. Unfortunately however 85% of individuals who are suffering from this condition remain without treatment as the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea hasn’t occurred. As a result of the latter, serious health problems can occur in the long run including snoring, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and even stroke. In the short run however, the following symptoms can occur, characterized by daytime symptoms and night time symptoms

Daytime symptoms include;

  • Sleepiness
  • Weight Gain
  • Short temper
  • No motivation
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Sore throat
  • Waking unrefreshed
  • Poor concentration levels
  • Low mood
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty rising from bed

Night symptoms include;

  • Snoring
  • Sweating
  • Frequent awakenings
  • Dry mouth
  • Breathe holding
  • Frequent toilets visits
  • Insomnia
  • Sore throat
  • Gasping/choking
  • Restless sleep
  • Heart palpitations
  • Frequent position changes

Feeling anxious? Don’t be worried about a thing- we at the Sleep Disorder Clinic have a vast amount of experience in diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnoea.


Central Sleep Apnoea

At times, despite our best efforts we may be unable to attain the amount of sound and undisturbed sleep that we desire- we may put it off to having too many thoughts or disturbances around the house, however this may not always be the case.

What is Central Sleep Apnoea?

Apnoeas by definition are temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep- that is to say whilst sleeping often we experience pauses in breathing. Five brief apnoeas per hour may be seen as normal within adults however for individuals with Central Sleep Apnoea these apnoeas occur more frequently and tend to last longer. Leading to pauses in the breathing effort, as the body does not make an attempt to breathe during such pauses- this is different from obstructive sleep apnoea where patients struggle to breathe as a result of the blocked airway.

Ten percent of people with breathing problems during sleep have central sleep apnoea which inevitably affects the quality of their sleep and in turn results in them feeling sleep and/or tired throughout the day.

What Causes Central Sleep Apnoea?

There are a number of causes of central sleep apnoea which needless to say vary as per the situation of the individual; some of these are as follows:

  • The brain may be slow to respond to changes in oxygenand carbon dioxide levels in the blood at the time when breathing slows down- this may occur in people who have hadsleep apnoea for a long time.
  • Slow circulation has an effect on the normal breathing reflex pathway causing a pattern of over-breathing and then under-breathing (periodic breathing) or stoppage of breathing.
  • It can occur as a result of weakness of the muscles which makes the lungs expand and contract.
  • Due to an abnormality in the shape of the chest wall or the lungs being too stiff potentially leading to under breathing, called hypoventilation.


Symptoms (can the bullet points be ticks to match the Obstrcutive)

  • Stopping breathing or irregular breathing during sleep
  • Shortness of breath leading to awakenings
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Morning headaches
  • Poor/Restless Sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Snoring (snoring isn’t as prevalent as it is in OSA sufferers)


Mixed Sleep Apnoea

Combining Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and Central Apnoea- Mixed Sleep Apnoea is a mixture of both, in its symptoms and other related factors. Mixed sleep apnoea, is in fact a combination of both obstructive sleep apnoea (absence of airflow but continued respiratory effort) and central apnoea (absence of airflow and respiratory effort). Typically it’s characterized by central apnoea occurrences for about ten seconds, followed by obstructive apnoea events.  The symptoms of mixed sleep apnoea are a combination of the symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnoea, which is further elaborated upon down below.

What Causes Mixed Sleep Apnoea

Though the causes of mixed apnoea remain uncertain however it can appear when the airway closes during a central sleep apnoea episode, that is, when an obstructive episode happens during a central apnoea episode, then you have mixed apnoea.After a long pause in breathing whilst sleeping, the blood oxygen level will be low resulting in gasps and other breathing efforts to recover the oxygen level.This breathing effort results in an unusually high level of carbon dioxide in the blood, which may trigger a central apnoea event.The harder the event of obstructive sleep apnoea, the more likely it is expected that a central apnoea event will occur, resulting in mixed apnoea- when the obstructive sleep apnoea episode is more difficult, it is more likely that the patient has mixed apnoea.

Once obstructive sleep apnoea is treated, the mixed apnoea event will likewise disappear. However the only way to recognize when a patient has mixed apnoea, rather than obstructive or central, is through an attended overnight sleep study where these events can be recorded and identified.


Include a mix of both central and obstructive sleep apnoea.

How can the Sleep Disorders Clinic Help?

With a plethora of experience in such disorders, we at the Sleep Disorders Clinic aim to ensure that the diagnosis of sleep apnoea or any other sleep related issue is prompt and action can be taken accordingly, in terms of the treatment to be performed.

We offer services in aiding you to carry out a sleep study in the comfort of your own home, with the sleep study kit reaching you within twenty four hours. Not only this, we can usually arrange for the collection from your home or work address to further aid cater to your busy schedule- you just need to contact us and we will handle the rest. Our specialist will give you a follow up phone call, after the analysis of the provided data is done- here your symptoms will be discussed, along with the result of the study and the recommended treatment to be opted for.

For the treatment, you can either seek it with us at the Sleep Disorders Clinic or seek treatment via the NHS, whichever best suits to your needs and requirements.

How we can help

With the aid of our comprehensive Sleep Study, the most detailed home sleep study available in the UK, we are able to analyze the data which we receive from your end via the Sleep Study Kit (sent to your home, to be worn for two nights). Not just this, the analysis can be done on the same day and a specialist will contact you with a follow up call to discuss your symptoms, results and potential treatment methods- a report will be provided accordingly. You are free to seek the treatment then either at the NHS or with us at the Sleep Disorders Clinic.

Once payment has been processed the Sleep Study Kit
will be sent by next day delivery to your home or work address.

Full, simple and easy to follow instructions
are included along with a youtube demonstration video for you to wear for 2 nights.

Contact us and we can usually arrange
same day collection from your home or work address.

We analyse the data same/next day and a Specialist will give you a
follow up phone call to discuss your symptoms, results and recommended treatment.

A full report will be provided.
You are then free to seek treatment via the NHS or with us at The Sleep Disorders Clinic.