The upper airways are important for our breathing, transmitting air from the nose or mouth via the throat to the windpipe (trachea) and lungs. Medical conditions affecting the upper airways can cause shortness of breath (dyspnoea) making it difficult to breathe which has negative impact upon a person’s quality of life
A sensation of restriction at the throat level or excessive noise when breathing in may be a sign of amore serious problem with the upper airways such as:
- Subglottic stenosis (narrowing of the windpipe)
- Vocal cord dysfunction / Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction
- Vocal cord paralysis
A thorough clinical history and examination of the throat can help to identify or exclude these problems. Our clinic offers unique specialised assessment of these conditions using state of the art diagnostic equipment for accurate diagnosis.
We are one of the few centres in Australia offering minimally invasive, office-based treatments for conditions such as subglottic stenosis which have previously required multiple surgical treatments under general anaesthetic.
Snoring andObstructive Sleep Apnoea(OSA)
Snoring represents collapse and vibration of the upper airways during sleep. Most of the time this does not affect health, but it can become disruptive to the person’s partner.Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a more serious form of snoring associated with frequent arousals during sleep, a drop in oxygen levels and excessive daytime sleepiness. If left untreated it can increase the risk of high blood pressure and serious heart problems. Up to 10% of adult males and 5% of adult females have OSA.
The risk factors for OSA include:
- Age–OSA is most common in middle age. Incidence increases with age especially postmenopausal women
- Sex–OSA and snoring are twice as common in males
- Weight–OSA and snoring incidence increases with weight. Up to 40% of obese males have OSAS and 70% of people with OSAS are obese
- Decreased muscle tone–including sedative and alcohol use
- Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function)
- Structural/anatomical features leading to upper narrowing airway
Early identification and treatment of OSA leads to improved sleep quality, energy levels and overall health. Review by our ENT surgeons may help identify anatomical factors which could be addressed to treat snoring and sleep apnoea such as:
- Blocked nose
- Enlargement of tonsils
- Large tongue (macroglossia)
- Craniofacial abnormalities
Our doctors work closely with leading expert respiratory physicians to determine the best solution for your snoring and sleep apnoea problems.