Obstructive SLEEP Apnea (OSA)


1. What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea? Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) affects approximately 4% of the adult population. A large proportion of cases remain undiagnosed. Do you think you could be one of them ? People who have OSA stop breathing repeatedly during sleep because their airway collapses. Upper Airway collapse may be due to decreased muscle activity, increased tissue around the airway, or structural features that lead to a narrowed airway. As a result, air is prevented from getting into the lungs, carbon dioxide levels in the blood rise and sleep is disrupted.

Opened Upper Airway

Clear and open upper airway (allows air to flow freely to and ) from the lungs.

Closed Upper Airway

Snoring and apnoeas (breathing pauses) are observed when the upper airway collapses.

These pauses in breathing can happen several times an hour, causing arousals from sleep.


2. Common signs and symptoms of OSA Most people are not aware if they have OSA. The condition is often detected by the bed-partner, who witnesses symptoms.

Some common signs and symptoms of OSA:

Excessive daytime sleepiness OSA sufferers may often fall asleep easily during passive activities and in severe cases while at work, on the phone or while driving.


Loud, disruptive snoring and pauses in breathing or gasping and choking for air during sleep Snoring usually interferes with the bed partner’s sleep. OSA sufferers might appear to struggle to breathe while sleeping.


Restless sleep Arousals from sleep are accompanied by body movements.


Depressed, irritable and feeling groggy, un-refreshed and often waking with a morning headache As a result of poor quality of sleep, OSA sufferers may experience noticeable problems while performing daily activities.


3. Potential risks of untreated OSA If you recognise some of these symptoms, this could indicate that you do suffer from OSA. You should discuss these with your sleep specialist.


Untreated OSA may put you at risk of a number of life threatening conditions, including:


There is also an increased likelihood of driving and work-related accidents. Treating OSA can limit the risk of developing the life-threatening conditions listed above and improve quality of life.



There are a number of options available. Some simple measures can help in treating OSA,

such as:

»  Weight loss
»  Avoiding alcohol in the evening
»  Sleeping on your side

However, these measures may not completely resolve OSA. Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) is an effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. PAP provides a gentle flow of air through your nose using a mask to prevent upper airway collapse and allows you to breathe more easily whilst you sleep. PAP therapy is safe and non-invasive and may resolve the symptoms of OSA when used as prescribed.

“I am able to concentrate better and my memory has improved” James Archer, Scotland.



4. How will I be diagnosed? Screening and Diagnosis The sleep specialist will determine the best screening or diagnostic test for you. Screening devices can be used to determine the likelihood of having OSA and whether you should be referred for further tests. To obtain a definitive diagnosis, an overnight sleep study (polygraphy/polysomnography) can be carried out, in the comfort of your own home or at the nearest sleep centre. This overnight study is safe and painless and monitors your sleep, respiratory parameters and heart activity.

Screening The in-home objective screening device (RUSleeping RTS) provides a continuous record of the number of times your airway narrows or collapses during sleep. By obtaining this information, your sleep specialist will be able to quickly determine if you are a likely candidate for further tests.

RUSleeping RTS



Polygraphy The new advanced portable sleep diagnostic (Alice PDx) records your breathing, heart rate and blood oxygen levels throughout the night. This test can take place at hospital or at home.



Polysomnography Polysomnography (Alice5) is a more complete sleep examination that also records your brain activity in order to study your sleep. Polysomnography can take place at hospital.





5. What do I need to do next? If your snoring causes irregular breathing at night and leaves you excessively sleepy during the day, or you recognise any of the symptoms described in this booklet, you may need to be investigated for OSA. Simply complete the sleep quiz contained inside this booklet and make any other relevant notes or concerns that you may have and take these to your sleep specialist. If your sleep specialist diagnoses OSA and prescribes PAP therapy, it may limit the potential risk of developing life-threatening conditions associated with OSA and improve your quality of life. PAP is an effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.