What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)?
By definition, OSA is a sleep disorder where a person’s upper airway repeatedly collapses during their sleep, causing them to stop breathing for a period of 10 seconds or longer. This usually happens during REM sleep, resulting in blood oxygen levels falling. If you or a loved one wake up choking or gasping during the night, that’s definitely a cause for concern and further investigation.
What are the symptoms of OSA?
During the day, the most common symptoms of OSA include early morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, irritability and even nodding off during routine daytime activities. Whereas at night, symptoms can be loud snoring, restlessness, choking or gasping for air, frequent bathroom visits and paused breathing (usually witnessed by a bed partner).
Who's most at risk?
While anyone can develop OSA, there are contributing factors that put you at an increased risk. Men are more likely to develop the condition, along with anyone who has a family history. Excess weight, asthma, smoking, high blood pressure and chronic nasal congestion can also play a part.
Why do so many people with OSA go undiagnosed?
Put simply, it’s hard to diagnose a condition that presents itself while you’re sleeping. Traditionally, the testing process for OSA is long and complicated, involving multiple doctor appointments and a sleep test (where a sleep technician monitors you overnight).
To help tackle this problem, Philips recently launched Pharmacy Sleep Services – a game-changing new technology that allows people to get tested at home using a take-home sleep test, administered by your local pharmacy.
How do you get tested for OSA?
Firstly, take this sleep quiz, which takes 60 seconds.
If the quiz indicates you might be suffering from OSA, swing by your local pharmacy to collect a home sleep test. Following the test, deliver it back to the pharmacy and get your results within 7-10 days.
Can OSA be treated?
If the results of your pharmacy sleep test indicate you have OSA, your pharmacist will organise a consultation. From there, you may choose to begin a sleep therapy called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). A CPAP device prevents a patient's upper airway from collapsing during sleep by providing a flow of air through the nose and/or mouth using a specialised mask.
This will be trialled for four weeks to give you a feel for how CPAP therapy works and the potential benefits. After the trial is up, you can choose whether to purchase the device for further treatment.
Brought to you by Pharmacy Sleep Services.
1,2 References available here.