Our team of highly-trained sleep consultants are dedicated to providing comprehensive support throughout your journey. Whether you’ve recently received a diagnosis of sleep apnoea and are beginning your CPAP therapy, or if you’re currently utilising CPAP treatment and wish to enhance its efficiency for improved sleep quality, or seeking a new mask fitting or mask parts, filters, or CPAP cleaning products, you can rely on National Pharmacies to be by your side, offering expert assistance and guidance every step of the way.
Sleep Apnoea is a sleep disorder characterised by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. These pauses, called apnoea’s, can last for a few seconds to a few minutes and may occur multiple times throughout the night. Sleep apnoea can be broadly classified into three types:
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
This is the most common form of sleep apnoea. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite the effort to breathe. The collapse of the airway leads to disrupted breathing and reduced oxygen levels in the blood.
Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA)
In this type, the brain fails to transmit proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. The airway is not blocked, but the brain’s inability to regulate breathing causes pauses in breathing during sleep.
Complex or Mixed Sleep Apnoea
This type is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnoea. It involves both a physical obstruction of the airway and a failure of the brain to send appropriate signals for breathing.
Sleep Apnoea is a condition that can affect anyone, regardless of their medical history. For more information about Sleep Apnoea speak to one of our experts in-store or view our frequently asked questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is affected by Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep Apnoea can affect individuals of any age, including children, but it is more commonly seen in adults. The prevalence of Sleep Apnoea tends to increase with age. The risk factors and populations most commonly affected by Sleep Apnoea include:
1. Obesity: Excess weight and obesity are significant risk factors for developing Sleep Apnoea. The extra fat tissue can lead to the narrowing of the airway, making it more prone to collapse during sleep.
2. Gender: Men are more likely to develop Sleep Apnoea than women, although the risk for women increases after menopause.
3. Age: Sleep Apnoea becomes more prevalent as individuals get older. This is partly due to changes in muscle tone and decreased elasticity of the airway with age.
4. Family history: Having a family history of Sleep Apnoea increases the likelihood of developing the condition. Genetic factors may play a role in its development.
5. Anatomical factors: Certain physical characteristics, such as a narrow throat, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a deviated septum, or a large tongue, can contribute to airway obstruction and increase the risk of Sleep Apnoea.
6. Smoking and alcohol use: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of Sleep Apnoea as they can relax the muscles of the throat, making the airway more prone to collapse.
7. Medical conditions: Sleep Apnoea is more prevalent among individuals with certain medical conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic nasal congestion, and hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
It’s important to note that while these factors increase the risk of developing Sleep Apnoea, anyone can be affected by the condition regardless of their specific characteristics or medical history. If you suspect Sleep Apnoea, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
What are the symptoms of Sleep Apnoea?
The symptoms of Sleep Apnoea can vary, and some individuals may not experience any symptoms at all. However, common symptoms of Sleep Apnoea include:
- Loud and persistent snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Choking or gasping for air during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Depression and irritability
- Restlessness during sleep
- Frequent night-time visits to the bathroom
- Sexual dysfunction
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be associated with other conditions, so it’s always recommended to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. A doctor may suggest a Sleep Study, which is the most reliable method of diagnosing Sleep Apnoea.
To further assess the likelihood of having Sleep Apnoea, you can consider taking the STOP-BANG[i] questionnaire, a screening tool that helps identify individuals at low, moderate, or high risk of having Sleep Apnoea. The Epworth[ii] Sleepiness Scale (ESS) may also be used to evaluate the need for further investigation.
It’s worth mentioning that the modern lifestyle, increased reliance on technology, work-related stress, and other factors can affect sleep quality for many individuals, not just those with Sleep Apnoea. The Sleep Health Foundation[iii] has conducted research indicating that a significant portion of the Australian population (33% to 45%) experiences poor sleep patterns leading to fatigue, irritability, and other adverse effects on productivity and mental health.
For patients starting CPAP therapy, difficulty falling asleep can occur, possibly due to being conscious of wearing a mask and other therapy-related adjustments. As part of the treatment, addressing sleep habits and promoting good sleep hygiene can enhance the effectiveness of the therapy and help you achieve better sleep.
How do you treat Sleep Apnoea?
The treatment of Sleep Apnoea aims to alleviate the symptoms, improve sleep quality, and reduce associated health risks. The specific treatment options depend on the type and severity of Sleep Apnoea. Some common approaches are:
1. Lifestyle changes: In mild cases or as a complement to other treatments, certain lifestyle modifications can be beneficial. These may include weight loss, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and sleeping on your side rather than your back.
2. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy: CPAP is the most commonly prescribed and effective treatment for obstructive Sleep Apnoea. It involves wearing a mask under or over the nose and/or mouth while sleeping. The CPAP machine delivers a continuous flow of air pressure that keeps the airway open, preventing Apnoea’s and improving breathing during sleep.
3. Oral appliances: Dental devices, such as mandibular advancement devices (MAD) or tongue-retaining devices, can be used to reposition the jaw and tongue, helping to keep the airway open. These appliances are custom fitted by a dentist specialising in sleep disorders.
4. Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) therapy: Similar to CPAP, BiPAP uses a machine to deliver air pressure, but with two different pressure settings. It is often prescribed for individuals who find CPAP uncomfortable or have difficulty exhaling against the pressure.
5. Surgery: In certain cases, surgical interventions may be considered to treat Sleep Apnoea. Surgical options can involve removing excess tissue, correcting structural abnormalities in the nose or throat, or repositioning the jaws to widen the airway. Surgery is usually recommended when other treatments have been ineffective or in cases with specific anatomical issues.
6. Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV): ASV is a specialised therapy used for central Sleep Apnoea. It involves a device that continually monitors breathing patterns and delivers pressure support to normalise breathing.
It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or sleep specialist to determine the most appropriate treatment for Sleep Apnoea based on individual circumstances. Treatment effectiveness should be regularly evaluated to ensure optimal management of the condition.
How can I get tested for Sleep Apnoea?
To undergo testing for Sleep Apnoea, please follow these steps:
1. Speak with our knowledgeable Pharmacists and Sleep Apnoea Consultants to obtain a referral form that includes recognised questionnaires. These questionnaires will help determine your likeliness of Sleep Apnoea and your eligibility for a Medicare-subsidised sleep study. Take this form to your general practitioner (GP) to discuss your symptoms related to Sleep Apnoea.
2. If necessary, ask your GP to complete and sign the referral form for a sleep study. They can either send the completed form to us or you can bring it to one of our participating pharmacies.
3. Based on your condition and your doctor’s recommendation, we will assist you in arranging either a hospital sleep study or a home-based sleep study. We work in collaboration with our partner, CLM Sleep Co., to facilitate the sleep study process.
4. Once your sleep study is conducted, the collected data will be thoroughly analysed. A comprehensive report will be sent to both your referring GP and the Sleep & Respiratory Physician.
5. Following the evaluation of the sleep study results by your GP or Sleep & Respiratory Physician, they will determine if CPAP therapy is necessary. They will prescribe the appropriate course of action based on their assessment.
6. We will promptly follow up with you to discuss treatment options tailored to your specific needs, taking into account the results of your sleep study.
By following these steps, you can initiate the process of getting tested for Sleep Apnoea and receive appropriate guidance and treatment from our team.
What is a Sleep Study?
A Sleep Study, also known as polysomnography (PSG), is a diagnostic test used to evaluate and diagnose sleep disorders, including Sleep Apnoea. It involves monitoring various physiological parameters during sleep to gather information about an individual’s sleep patterns and quality.
During a Sleep Study, you typically spend a night in a sleep laboratory or a specialised sleep centre, but home-based studies are also available. Electrodes and sensors are placed on specific areas of your body to record and monitor various aspects such as brain activity (electroencephalogram or EEG), eye movements (electrooculogram or EOG), muscle activity (electromyogram or EMG), heart rate, airflow, oxygen levels, and breathing patterns. These measurements provide valuable data that helps sleep specialists assess your sleep architecture, identify abnormalities, and diagnose sleep disorders.
The sleep technologists and specialists analyse the recorded data to determine the presence of sleep disturbances, including Sleep Apnoea, periodic limb movement disorder, narcolepsy, and other sleep-related conditions. They evaluate factors such as the number and duration of breathing interruptions, oxygen desaturation levels, and sleep fragmentation to make an accurate diagnosis.
A Sleep Study is a safe and non-invasive procedure that allows healthcare professionals to gather essential information about your sleep and identify any underlying sleep disorders. It helps guide appropriate treatment decisions and interventions tailored to your specific needs, ultimately improving your overall sleep quality and well-being.
A Sleep Study confirmed I have Sleep Apnoea and I have been prescribed CPAP therapy. What is the next step?
Our team of expert sleep consultants is dedicated to guiding you throughout the entire process.
Designed specifically for individuals who have recently been diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea, our program provides a thorough introduction to Sleep Apnoea and CPAP therapy. It includes extensive education, an assessment of sleep hygiene, an evaluation of diet and weight management, a trial of therapy, analysis of data, and assessment of treatment effectiveness. Our experienced consultants lead the sessions, taking a holistic approach to ensure long-term success for patients.
The cost for this service is $360 for National Pharmacies members and $450 for non-members. Other charges may include the purchase of a device, mask and consumables.
You can schedule an initial Sleep Consultation here.