When was the last time you’ve had a tranquil, dreamless good night’s sleep and the last time you could actually breathe, uninterrupted? We understand the pain.

 

Suffering from sleep apnoea may turn into a very problematic disorder, leading to irritability, fatigue, lack of focus and distress, that are a direct consequence of a lack of sleep and weariness, caused by sleep apnoea.

 

What exactly is sleep apnoea?

This serious sleep disorder occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People diagnosed with sleep apnoea tend to stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times, causing the brain and the rest of the body to not get enough oxygen.

Are sleep apnoea and a deviated septum linked?

A deviated septum is one of the most common types of nasal obstructions, often caused by an irregular shape of the nasal septum*. It may partially block the passage of air and interfere with breathing.

A person with a deviated nasal septum can develop obstructive sleep apnoea, depending on the severity of the deviation, as well as its treatment. Estimates indicate that 80% of people have some sort of misalignment to their nasal septum, making the severity of their breathing problems mild or alarming. However, not many breathing obstacles need to be treated, nor do they cause severe breathing issues.

*The septum is the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity of the nose in half.

What causes a deviated septum?

Most commonly, a deviated septum is a direct result of an injury or trauma to the nose; other times, a person is born with it.

What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?

What appears to be the most common symptom is nasal congestion; often, one side of the nose is more congested than the other, making breathing very difficult.

Other symptoms include:

  • Headaches

  • Nosebleeds

  • Postnasal drips

  • Facial pain

  • Loud breathing and snoring during sleep

When the septum is severely deviated, a serious case of sleep apnoea may occur and stop the breathing during sleep.

How many types of sleep apnoea are there?

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA): OSA is caused by a blockage of the airway, most often with the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapsing during sleep. OSA is the more common of the two forms of apnoea.

Central sleep apnoea: With this apnoea condition, the airway is not blocked, but, due to an instability in the respiratory control center, the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.

Can sleep apnoea kill me?

If your breathing is disrupted and stopped in your sleep, yes, you may die. However, rarely anyone can live with this condition unknowingly; usually, with a diagnosis in place, proper treatment is prescribed and you are safe.

If you leave the condition undiagnosed (and untreated), you are in danger of increased blood pressure (sleep apnoea places a great strain on your heart), and damage to you brain and the rest of your nervous system.

Am I at risk for sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea can affect anyone at any age, with the risk factors including:

  • Being male

  • Being over 40

  • Being overweight

  • Having a large neck size

  • Having large tonsils

  • Having a small jaw bone

  • Having a large tongue

  • Having a family history of sleep apnoea

  • Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems

  • Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD

What are the best procedures to treat sleep apnoea?

Depending on the condition, the best surgery to have performed is septoplasty. However, this is something your surgeon will establish.

What are the consequences of sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea can result in:

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart failure

  • Heart attacks

  • Irregular heart beats

  • Diabetes

  • Stroke

  • Depression

  • Headaches

  • Worsening of ADHD

 

In addition, “untreated sleep apnoea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents”.