Sleep apnoea is an extremely serious condition. The three main signs of the condition are:
- Loud snoring
- Noisy or laboured breathing during sleep
- Repeated gasping or snorting during sleep
For those with sleep apnoea, the airway relaxes and narrows as they sleep. This means that oxygen cannot be taken in properly, reducing or even stopping airflow to the lungs. Sufferers have broken sleep as the brain wakes them, often without their knowledge, to reopen the airway. So, as well as their heavy snoring waking their partner, the sufferer doesn’t get much sleep either.
When left untreated for a long time, sleep apnoea is linked to a number of chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and depression. Despite the severe impact the condition can have on people’s lives, it has been estimated by the NHS that up to 85%[i] of sleep apnoea cases go undiagnosed. This huge number of undiagnosed cases could be to do with a lack of awareness of the condition. The signs of sleep apnoea are often pointed out to the sufferer by their partners, who sees them exhibiting the warning signs as they sleep. However, our YouGov survey revealed that a mere 3% of snorers in relationships had visited the doctor about their snoring, despite it being one of the main signs of sleep apnoea.
Losing weight, cutting down alcohol consumption, stopping smoking, and getting more exercise have all been shown to improve the symptoms of sleep apnoea. The treatment given on the NHS for sleep apnoea is CPAP. Sufferers are issued with a CPAP machine and mask. The mask is worn at night, and it increases the air pressure in the sufferer’s throat; ensuring that the airway stays open and normal breathing continues. Many people discontinue use of their prescribed CPAP machine, as they find it uncomfortable and inconvenient to use. However, for people with mild/moderate sleep apnoea, a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) can prove just as effective, and much more accessible.
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs)
A Mandibular Advancement Device such as the Snoreeze Oral Device has been proven to be just as effective as a CPAP machine for mild/moderate sleep apnoea. The FDA cleared Snoreeze Oral Device is worn like a gum-shield and can be customised to fit in just a few minutes. The device works by positioning the jaw to create free space at the back of the throat, ensuring that air can pass through easily. The neutral position of the device resolves snoring for many people, but the easily-adjustable design means that the jaw can be gently positioned forward to clear the obstructed upper airway. Once the airway is cleared, normal breathing can continue all night and snoring is stopped.
[i] NHS North of England Specialised Commissioning Group, 2012. Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders.