Sleep disorders can be multifactorial and complex. They include snoring, sleep apnoea, narcolepsy, periodic limb movement disorder and insomnia.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is the most common sleep disorder in the community after insomnia. An apnoea is the cessation of breathing for ten seconds or more in an adult. The common predisposing conditions are obesity, aging and facial shape. If untreated, OSA can cause hypertension and makes several other conditions worse including diabetes, heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. If severe enough it can cause premature death usually from stroke or heart attack.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Aponea
Snoring is very common in the community .It is usually a social nuisance, but is often also a marker of a more serious problem called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
Choking , gagging and gasping in sleep are symptoms of OSA typically in mild-moderate disease, which paradoxically disappear as the disease gets worse.
Sleepiness and chronic tiredness are usually due to inadequate refreshing sleep, either too little sleep time, or poor quality sleep (as is the case in OSA). It reduces performance in most areas of daily life and may predispose people to traffic and industrial accidents.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux can be a symptom of OSA.
These symptoms can be treated and may resolve with effective treatment of the cause. Before appropriate treatment can be decided most patients are required to undergo an overnight sleep study.
About the Overnight Sleep Study
An overnight sleep study requires the patient to be fitted with a number of sensors. Many of the sensors are pasted or taped to the scalp and face. These sensors help to determine what stage of sleep the patient is in. Other sensors are fitted to the finger (to measure oxygen level), to the chest (to measure heart rhythm and breathing effort) and another to the nose (to measure airflow). There will also be electrodes attached to the chest and base of neck to measure breathing effort and to the leg (to measure any leg movements or jerking). Once the sensors and electrodes are attached they are connected into a computerised system and the equipment is calibrated. This enables the patient’s sleep pattern to be monitored overnight. Following the study the raw data is analysed by a qualified technician, and then reported on by one of our qualified sleep physicians. You are asked to make a follow-up appointment with your referring doctor 2-3 weeks after your overnight stay to discuss the results of your study.
To enable all patients who require sleep investigation access to testing, we only charge the schedule fee as recommended by The Health Insurance Commission. This means that 85% of the cost of the study is covered by Medicare.