What is sleep apnoea?

What is sleep apnoea?

At Roczen, we routinely screen all of our patients for a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), and this may well be why you’re reading this article. OSA occurs when your breathing stops and starts repeatedly during your sleep, which over time can have a profound impact on your metabolic health and body weight. It’s often noticed through symptoms such as loud snoring, pauses in breathing, gasping for air during sleep and daytime fatigue. These symptoms frequently stem from obstructed airflow due to relaxed throat muscles, leading to interrupted breathing patterns throughout the night.

What is the health impact of OSA?

The health impact of OSA extends beyond sleep disturbances and can compromise our cardiovascular health, metabolic function, cognitive performance, mental well-being and overall quality of life. Early detection and effective management of OSA is essential to reduce these health risks and improve long-term outcomes for those affected by it, which is why we take a proactive approach here at Roczen

Assessment options

If your screening questionnaire has identified a potential risk of sleep apnoea, there are treatments and lifestyle modifications that can help improve OSA. With your consent, your Roczen clinician will write to inform your GP of your elevated STOPBANG screening score, who will then discuss with you and decide whether a referral to a specialist sleep clinic is necessary. Sleep clinics complete their own assessment and may ask you to wear a device while you sleep (either at home or in some cases at the sleep clinic overnight). This will be monitoring details such as breathing patterns and rates, along with heart rate during sleep. The device will be able to give feedback to the clinic if you have sleep apnoea and, if present, its severity.

Treatment options

If the test indicates that you have OSA then you will be offered a device called a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine while you sleep. This helps by delivering a flow of air through a mask worn over your mouth or nose during sleep.

Benefits of using a CPAP machine include:

  • Improving breathing by preventing airway narrowing during sleep.

  • Enhancing sleep quality and reducing daytime fatigue.

  • Lowering the risk of health issues associated with sleep apnoea, such as high blood pressure.

The Impact of Lifestyle Changes:

Lifestyle factors can play an important role in the management of OSA and there are a variety of ways in which we can do this:

  • Weight loss helps to reduce the severity of OSA by relieving pressure on the airway.

  • Physical activity and movement not only aids weight loss but also strengthens respiratory muscles and improves sleep quality.

  • Good sleep hygiene and avoidance of alcohol can also improve OSA symptoms and overall sleep quality.


  • Sleep apnoea is characterised by interrupted breathing during sleep, often as a result of your airway being obstructed by relaxed throat muscles.

  • Health risks include cardiovascular issues, metabolic imbalance, cognitive impairment, and reduced quality of life.

  • Treatment options include CPAP machines and lifestyle changes such as weight loss and physical activity, which improve breathing, sleep quality and overall health.

  • Early detection and management can help improve short- and long-term outcomes.
August 31, 2023
Written by
Laura Donaldson
Reviewed by
Robbie Green

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