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This consists of the repeated respiratory pauses (apnoea or hypopnoea) when the person sleeps. These respiratory events are a consequence of partial obstruction of the upper airway (nose, nasal cavity, mouth or throat (pharynx and larynx)).
Patients report snoring, unrefreshing sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness. It can lead to traffic accidents, affect quality of life and may be a cardiovascular risk factor.
Diagnosis is by polysomnography, which detects apnoea.
Treatment must be individualised and based on improving sleep habits, weight reduction (if overweight or obese), postural treatment (when apnoeas are exclusively due to posture), CPAP nasal mask, mandibular advancement devices, hypoglossal nerve stimulation and surgical techniques, such as maxillary advancement and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty.