Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) refers to any disorder in which there are breaks or pauses in a person's breathing during sleep. Most people who have OSA also snore, but not all snorers have OSA.. Diagnosing OSA needs to be done in a sleep centre and requires at least one Nocturnal Polysomnogram (PSG), which measures various physiological functions during the stages of sleep. A trained sleep technician monitors the patient continuously during the test. Then, the results are evaluated by a sleep disorder specialist, a diagnosis is made and a treatment plan is proposed.
The most effective means of treating OSA is by Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). In this highly effective therapy, a mask is worn over the nose during sleep. Nasal CPAP provides a pressure splint to the upper airway, allowing the person to sleep and breathe normally. The airflow required must be determined through testing during sleep which is done during an overnight PSG.
OSA left untreated is associated with a much poorer long term outcome and increases the risk of cardiovascular, pulmonary and other diseases.
Disruption of sleep caused by frequent interruption of breathing, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, memory lapses, inattention, personality changes, poor work performance, increased likelihood of driving and industrial accidents. Dangerously low levels of oxygen can lead to potential heart problems and other health disorders, including: depression, mood changes, memory loss, weight gain, impotency and headaches. Pressure changes in the throat can lead to an irregular heart beat. There is an increased risk of high blood pressure, premature heart disease and stroke.