Having trouble breathing?

It’s tough to make most of life unless you’re able to breathe correctly. If you are faced with a difficulty in breathing, it is a good idea to put finger on the problem as soon as you can. Understanding whether you are experiencing something as innocuous as common cold or as hazardous as a heart failure can be challenging. We will help you uncover the facts about your situation with consolidated advice from a variety of internationally recognized sources.Where should you begin?Start with analyzing the trigger.

If you’re feeling that you are not getting enough air, don’t ignore it. If it begins right after a strenuous physical activity, stress, exposure to dust and stuffed nose, it is likely to be a mild condition which still requires medical attention. However, if you’re experiencing severe chest discomfort and shortness of breath in abrupt spells, it might be a pre-indication to a serious ailment. Predominantly, a serious breathing condition is a result of some kind of lung, airway or heart anomaly.Here’s a quick look at some of these conditions:

Asthma: Symptoms include wheezing, coughing and tightness of chest. This is caused by inflammation of airways.

Bronchitis: Associated with incessant cough, fever, sore throat, wheezing and chest tightening, bronchitis, this condition is caused by irritation to the bronchial tubes.

Pneumonia: Manifested by chest pain, shortness of breath, muscle ache and coughing, pneumonia is the outcome of a kind of bacterial infection of lungs.

Sleep Apnea: Commonly indicated by loud snoring, choking during sleep, lack of concentration and extreme sleepiness during daytime. It involves blockage of airway during sleep causing breathing pauses.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Indications include chronic cough, wheezing, fatigue, headaches and chest tightness. COPD is a combination of progressive lung diseases which make breathing difficult over time.

Pulmonary Embolism: Another serious disorder with signs such as excessive sweating, unusual heart rate, chest pain, wheezing and in some cases, swelling of a body part such as leg. Occurs when a blood clot travels from a body part to a lung artery resulting in restrained oxygen supply among other complications.

Heart Diseases: Conditions related to the heart generally caused by artery damage, structural defects and heart rate disorders may also cause severe breathing problems.

Epiglottitis: Typical indications entail mouth drooling, difficulty in swallowing, intense throat soreness, peculiar breathing pattern and sounds. A medical emergency in most cases, epiglottitis implicates swelling of epiglottis, a tissue that wraps the windpipe.What to do in case you’re facing these indications?

Experiencing the above symptoms does not necessarily mean that you’re suffering from one of the listed diseases but it’s imperative to seek expert medical intervention without delay. Your doctor will examine you, study your symptoms and ask a few questions before charting a calculated course of action. And if considered crucial by your physician, some tests such as chest X-ray, CT scan, pulmonary function testing, pulse oximetry and blood tests will help in diagnosing and treating your condition more accurately.Treatment Options

Altering Lifestyle: Not all breathing problems require medication. Your breathing discomfort might be a result of an allergic reaction which might get subdued just by avoiding exposure to irritants, wearing a mask and restricting dust build-up around yourself. Meditation and exercise might also prove to be quite beneficial in case of stress and anxiety induced breathing problems

Reducing Weight: Some breathing conditions are tightly linked with obesity. With a realistic weight loss plan under the supervision of your physician, it is possible to treat several respiratory disorders. In particular, weight control can prove to be highly beneficial for sleep apnea patients

Further Diagnostic Testing: Ask your physician for a sleep test. These tests collect data of breathing patterns and concurrent vital signs through overnight sleep laboratory visits or home stays. The results may suggest you are a candidate for specialized device such as a CPAP, APAP or in extreme cases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), long term oxygen therapies

Medication: There are various highly advanced medications developed to treat or manage all kinds of breathing difficulties. If it’s a mild condition caused by some kind of allergy, your doctor is likely to prescribe decongestants, inhaled steroids and antihistamines which will help bring down the inflammation of airways. And if your condition is a serious disorder associated with your lungs or heart, then the doctors will order for medications or breathing support equipment dependent on your unique needs. In case of chronic disorders or diseases which have no cure, the healthcare provider’s primary focus is to keep the impact to a minimum and ensuring an acceptable quality of life.

Surgery: For serious conditions, surgery may be the right answer to relieve you of symptoms from blockages, and altering the size of the airway may be necessary in order to clear the blockageHow can you minimize the risk of developing a breathing problem?

Damage done to the intricate mechanism of lungs is quite often irreversible. It is important to know how you can preserve them and reduce the risk of developing a breathing problem. Here are things you can do:

  • Getting medical care as soon as you encounter warning signs
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Keeping your weight under control
  • Avoiding exposure to irritants and dust
  • Incorporating lung-related exercise into your workout regimen

In addition, it is advisable to try finding out from your physician if your mild breathing discomfort requires the use of any respiratory support device as prevention. Products such as CPAP, VPAP or oxygen concentrators not only play a vital role in managing and treating a respiratory disease, but they can also help in preventing one if detected at an early stage.

Diagnosing sleep apnoea

Diagnosing sleep apnoea can now be done at home using a small unobtrusive monitor which measures snoring, blood oxygen levels and reductions in air intake when breathing.

Snoring is a sign of obstruction and 70% of people who regularly snore also have some degree of sleep apnoea.

Man sleeping wearing an apnealink sleep monitoring device from SleepWise Clinic

If you already have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

If you are using an oral appliance it’s great that your snoring has stopped and you are feeling refreshed however you need to get objective evidence to know it’s working fully in getting rid of your sleep apnoea. We can organise a sleep study while using the appliance in order to measure its effectiveness.  If you are not accessing treatment now is the time to start. Oral appliances and CPAP are the two proven treatments with oral appliances far more comfortable.

If you have not had a sleep study

The purpose of the sleep study is not just to identify the presence of sleep apnea but most importantly to determine the severity. The severity of sleep apnoea is important for choosing the best treatment. It is also important to know the severity when adjusting an oral appliance in order to get the optimal results.

To discover whether a comfortable, custom-fit oral appliance from SleepWise Clinic could provide relief for your sleep apnoea or snoring, contact the caring team today or make a booking online for an appointment with one of our clinicians.

Oral appliances versus the CPAP

The news continues to get better for dentists specialising in oral appliances for snoring and sleep apnoea, who are now acknowledged as having one of the only two front line treatments for snoring and sleep apnoea.

Evidence presented at a recent International Sleep Conference in Brisbane demonstrated that custom made oral appliances are just as effective as the CPAP machine in overcoming sleepiness, snoring and the other symptoms of sleep apnoea. A major difference is that oral appliances are far more comfortable and easy to use when compared to CPAP.

I recently returned from the three day Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) Conference in Brisbane,  and it finished with an impactful presentation by Professor Peter Cistulli, from Sydney University, arguably Australia’s most distinguished sleep physician. He is the a past president of the ASA and a world renowned expert on oral appliances for sleep apnoea and snoring.

Based on a large body of research, including his own, Professor Cistulli’s key message was that custom made oral appliances are now being demonstrated as equally effective when compared to the CPAP machine – not only in changing the quality of people’s lives but also in the health related outcomes of treatment.

However the main difference is that oral appliances are far more comfortable and unobtrusive than the CPAP machine. The vast majority of our patients are wearing their oral appliance every night, for all of the night, with outstanding results.

The keynote presenters at the 2018 Brisbane Australiasian Sleep Association Conference -Dr Harry Ball, second from the left.
The keynote presenters at the Brisbane ASA Conference – Dr Harry Ball, second from the left.

Studies with CPAP demonstrate that on average only around 40% of people can use it, and those that do are only doing so for an average of three hours per night.

The better compliance and comfort of oral appliances, when compared to the CPAP machine, are well documented in studies, and results in both treatments being equivalent in overcoming snoring, tiredness and the health consequences of sleep apnoea.

Please note if you are in the category of having severe sleep apnoea, particularly with high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, CPAP is clearly your best option.  However many people in this category can’t use CPAP and can still achieve successful outcomes with an oral appliance.

Sleep Physicians have asked and we have listened

Until recently the only treatment that a patient could trial is the CPAP machine.  Many of the sleep physicians who refer patients to us have asked if their patients could trial a customised oral appliance to test the effectiveness.

As a result SleepWise Clinic is the only group in Melbourne offering a trial of a latest generation, customised, adjustable oral appliance.  Our satisfaction guarantee means you can now experience the life changing benefits of a latest generation appliance with little financial risk.

We are happy to do this because not only is this a valuable service, our research tells us that the vast majority of patients who receive an appliance achieve successful outcomes.

To discover whether a comfortable, custom-fit oral appliance from SleepWise Clinic could provide relief for your sleep apnoea or snoring, contact our team today or make a booking online.

Snore, Does This Mean I Have Sleep Apnoea?

If you just discovered that you snore during your sleep, you may wonder if it’s a symptom of something more serious—sleep apnoea. Since three-quarters of excessive snorers do have this condition, it is a valid question.

Thanks to better research and publicity, sleep apnoea—and its serious complications—has come to the attention of the Australian public.

Wife unable to sleep from snoring husband

Certainly, it is worth a visit to your healthcare provider to find out. After all, if you do have the condition, it puts you at risk for strokes, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and accidents. Furthermore, it can make you fatigued during the day, affecting your mood at home and your productivity at work.

Sleep Apnoea or Snoring? How to Know.

Snoring occurs when your upper airway narrows during sleep when some of the tissues relax and drop down, partially blocking your air passage. As the air passes through the narrowed passage, it vibrates the loose tissues and causes the characteristic sounds of snoring.

With sleep apnoea, though, you stop breathing several times during the night. In severe cases, these episodes can be as frequent as 80 times per hour. If you sleep in the same room as your partner or a roommate, ask them if they notice any periods in which you stop breathing. If so, make an appointment with your healthcare provider for a sleep study as soon as possible.

If you don’t have anyone who can observe you as you sleep, it would still be in your best interest to learn if it is sleep apnoea that causes your snoring. You can still have sleep apnoea even if you don’t notice any pauses in your breathing as you sleep. That’s especially true if you often feel tired during the daytime. Daytime fatigue is one of the main indicators that your snoring may be due to sleep apnoea.

Other risk factors include smoking, sleeping on your back, or being overweight. If you have one of these risk factors, it pays to undergo a sleep study. That’s the only way you can know for sure if sleep apnoea is the cause of your snoring.

After Your Sleep Apnoea Diagnosis.

Once you receive a diagnosis of sleep apnoea, speak to your healthcare professional for the best way to overcome this health challenge. The good news? In most cases, sleep apnoea is easy to treat.

The effective, yet often uncomfortable CPAP.

If you have a severe case of sleep apnoea, your healthcare professional may recommend a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device. This machine creates gentle air pressure inside your throat as you sleep, preventing the tissues inside your throat from blocking your airway. CPAP devices use a face mask or a nose mask connected to the machine to deliver the air. Many patients, however, find these appliances extremely uncomfortable—and therefore will not wear them, despite the obvious health benefits.

There is, however, another solution.

Custom-made oral appliance delivers comfortable relief for most sleep apnoea patients

With all cases of sleep apnoea, especially if someone cannot use a CPAP machine, patients can experience complete relief with a simple dental appliance.

This Australian-made appliance fits right in your mouth. As you sleep, the appliance gently pushes your tongue and lower jaw forward to clear your airway. With this appliance, the relaxed tissues at the back of your throat cannot collapse into your airway—even when they’re completely loose during deep sleep.

It’s a game-changer for people all over the world who’ve used it. Unlike other oral appliances, it’s custom-made to the contours of your mouth, so it’s far more comfortable than intrusive CPAP devices or other oral devices.

Designed to fit the exact contours of your mouth using three-dimensional CAD/CAM design software, this appliance won’t rub or create irritation as do many oral devices. It uses cutting-edge technology and high-quality acrylic materials to provide the ultimate in comfort. In fact, you’ll be able to talk, to open and close your mouth and lips when you wear it.

After you receive your appliance, you will receive follow-up support throughout your treatment to make sure everything is working according to your treatment plan.

Furthermore, this appliance is the best available treatment for non-sleep apnoea-related snoring. If your partner or your household cannot sleep because of your loud snoring, it pays to check out whether this appliance may help bring better sleep for everyone at your home.

Lifestyle changes can help

Finally, in addition to your oral appliance, you may also benefit from lifestyle changes. If you need to reduce weight, reduce your consumption of alcohol, or change your sleep position, these steps can make a huge difference in people with sleep apnoea. Even if they do not completely resolve the condition, they can augment other treatments to bring you a good night’s sleep.

To discover whether a comfortable, custom-fit oral appliance from We could provide relief for your sleep apnoea or snoring, contact the caring team today or make a booking online for an appointment with one of our clinicians.