Obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome (OSAHS) is a sleep disorder in which a person has irregular breathing at night and is excessively sleepy during the day. People affected by sleep apnoea are often unaware that they have the condition. However, as their sleep is disrupted they usually begin to experience symptoms during the day and a partner may witness an apnoea or point out other symptoms that occur at night. Symptoms include: excessive daytime sleepiness; lack of concentration; snoring (although not everyone who snores has sleep apnoea); frequent awakenings during the night; difficulties with breathing; feeling unrested after sleep; gasping, choking or snorting during sleep; irritability or change in personality; excessive urination at night (nocturia); morning headaches; and dry mouth on waking.
Certain factors that are causing sleep apnoea, such as obesity, should be dealt with first. For example, by losing weight, the person may be cured of the condition. Changing sleeping position can help some people sleeping on one side or front, rather than on the back and this discourages the tongue from rolling over the airway. The most effective non-invasive (non-surgical) treatment for sleep apnoea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The patient wears a soft mask over their nose and mouth, and a machine raises and regulates the pressure of the air they breathe, preventing the airway from collapsing during sleep. Sometimes surgery is required to manage snoring and sleep apnoea. Surgery can involve correcting physiological abnormalities, such as removing nasal polyps.
For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the doctor during your consultation. Please be reminded that we offer free online health advice.