Managing Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea | 2 min read

What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the cessation of airflow during sleep, preventing air from entering the lungs due to an obstruction. These periods of ‘stopping breathing’ only become clinically significant if the cessation lasts more than 10 seconds each time and occurs more than ten times every hour. OSA only happens during sleep, as a lack of muscle tone in your upper airway causes the airway to collapse.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?


  • Loud heavy snoring often interrupted by pauses and gasps
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability and morning headaches
  • Forgetfulness, anxiety, or depression
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Decreased sex drive


How to treat sleep apnea?

In mild and moderate cases, your doctor may recommend only lifestyle changes, such as weight loss or quitting smoking. If these measures don’t improve your signs and symptoms, several other treatments are available such as CPAP and MAD.

What is the CPAP?

CPAP is a standard treatment for OSA. CPAP is a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask while you sleep. When wearing a CPAP mask, the machine will blow air into your airways to keep them open throughout the night.

Some people find CPAP uncomfortable, have trouble sleeping with it, are intolerant to CPAP, or are unable to use CPAP due to load-shedding.

What is a mandibular advancement device (MAD)?

MAD is a dental sleep devise that you wear while sleeping to help alleviate snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. MAD looks like a mouth guard and can be used to hold your tongue or jaw in place and stop your airway from being blocked.

What are the benefits of MAD?

MAD can improve symptoms of OSA, including daytime sleepiness, moodiness, and concentration issues, and reduces or eliminates snoring. MAD further provides the following benefits:

  • Works without electricity
  • Offers another option for people who cannot tolerate CPAP
  • Is easier to take along when traveling
  • Is quiet


When to consult a doctor?

Consult an Intercare doctor if you have signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, or contact Dr Clyde Keevy from Intercare Sandton if you want to know more about MAD treatment.



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