News released this week revealed that Hollywood star Carrie Fisher died from 'sleep apnoea and other causes', according to the coroner’s report.
The Star Wars actress died last year after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles.
In addition to the drug use revealed by a toxicology report, the cause of death was triggered by this condition few understand but that can tackled with treatment.
So, what is it – and what can be done to manage the condition?
We hear from experts at Sleepwell, who offer clinically proven solutions for sleep apnoea and snoring.
There are three types of sleep apnoea, most common is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
OSA is potentially life threatening as there are many associated health problems observed in people that suffer OSA. Hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes, depression and daytime sleepiness are just a few of the issues facing OSA sufferers.
Why can seeing a dentist help me?
Some dentists may have done some additional training that enables them to screen patients for signs and symptoms of OSA. Once the screening is complete a dentist can offer a Mandibular Advancement Splint and refer you to a GP for a Sleep Test if your signs and symptoms are such that there may be a risk that you may have OSA.
What questions will my dentist ask me to assess my problem?
The questions are relatively straightforward, with are a few general medical questions about your general health. Then they will ask some specific sleep related questions; these are directed to you and your sleeping partner if you have one. They will ask you a few questions about daytime sleepiness. Finally they will measure your neck circumference. This measure alone is a good indicator to how likely you are to suffer with OSA.
What is a Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) and is it uncomfortable to wear?
A MAS is a dental mouthpiece that you wear during sleep. It is designed to hold you bottom jaw slightly forward, in turn opening up your airway and allowing your tongue to come forward. One of the UK’s most common devices is a Sleepwell MAS. These are self-adjustable, meaning you can control how much forward movement you have. Generally, it is a lot easier to wear than some other MASs. Sleepwell also has a slightly soft inner lining making it more comfortable.
I have high blood pressure and hypertension – will this help me sleep?
Sleepwell was proven to have a positive impact on nocturnal blood pressure in a clinical trial.
How long will I have to wait for a Sleepwell device?
Once the dentist has taken moulds, the Sleepwell device will be custom made and be back with your dentist in less than two weeks.
Has it evidence to support its use?
Sleepwell still remains the most clinically effective MAS. A study conducted in Australia in 2004 proved it clinically effective in treating OSA.