Frequently Asked Questions

All Questions

Back to topWhat is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that is characterised by persistent inflammation of the lower airways within the lungs. There are subtypes of asthma but In most cases it is an allergic disorder. The degree of airways inflammation fluctuates according to various factors, e.g. exposure to all...

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Back to topWhat is Thunderstorm Asthma?

On the evening of Monday 21 November 2016, Melbourne experienced the largest ever recorded “Thunderstorm Asthma” event. After a particularly hot day a dramatic cool change arrived with thunderstorm activity and strong westerly winds. Within a short period many thousands of people across Melbourne...

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Back to topWhat protective steps can be taken?

There is good evidence that those who were taking inhaled corticosteroid for their asthma prior to 21 November 2016 were protected. As a general principle it is important that asthma is adequately controlled with appropriate (usually inhaled) medication. Those who have been diagnosed with asthma shou...

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Back to topWhat caused the Thunderstorm Asthma event in November 2016?

The people affected by the Thunderstorm Asthma event were allergic to rye grass pollen. Early in the Spring of 2016 rainfall was above average and grasses grew longer than usual. In November, at the peak of the hay fever season, large amounts of pollen were present in and around Melbourne. On 2...

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Back to topHow does Shift work & Jet lag effect us?

Many processes in our bodies follow a daily ("circadian") rhythm, including sleep/wake cycles. If we alter the usual times when we are active and when we sleep, e.g. working night shift or travelling overseas to a different time zone, it is common to experience difficulty sleeping. If you are s...

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Back to topWhat strategies can help with adjusting to a different sleep/wake pattern?

  • Light exposure, timed correctly within the circadian rhythm, is a powerful way of adjusting our internal body clock and adapting to a new sleep/wake routine.
  • Melatonin, a natural hormone produced by our bodies, also helps to regulate the body clock. Taking extra melatonin in t...

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Back to topWhat are the symptoms of Idiopathic Hypersomnia?

Patients with IH do not experience cataplexy, sleep paralysis or hypnagogic hallucinations. They wake in the morning feeling tired and drowsy, and it can take several hours before feeling alert. They feel extremely sleepy and the need to take naps during the day is almost overwhelming. It is co...

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Back to topWhat are some of the symptoms of Narcolepsy?

Symptoms that may occur in narcolepsy (but not always):

  • Cataplexy - a sudden loss of muscle tone, often triggered by laughing, crying or strong emotions.
  • Sleep paralysis - this usually occurs when waking up in the morning and lasts usually for 1 minute or less. It can be a fr...

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Back to topWhat disorders causing excessive sleepiness?

Narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) are relatively uncommon sleep disorders. They are similar to each other - both are characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness. Distinguishing the two conditions can be quite difficult and requires the expertise of a sleep physician.

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Back to topWhat Oral / dental appliances are used for snoring and sleep apnoea?

Oral devices such as the mandibular advancement splint (pictured) may be a good alternative where CPAP is not appropriate or poorly tolerated. It is a custom-fitted device that is worn during sleep. It consists of upper and lower pieces that fit over the teeth, joined by a hinge. The effect of the...

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Back to topWhat is a sleep study?

A sleep study is an overnight test designed to gather information about your sleep as part of a complete assessment. Sleep studies performed in a hospital laboratory are the gold standard test and the most accurate type of study. Home-based studies may be appropriate in certain circumstances. Duri...

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Back to topHow is Sleep Apnoea treated?

It is important that sleep apnoea treatment is tailored to your particular characteristics including the severity of your OSA. Weight loss is often an important component of treatment, and it may be all that is needed. Other forms of treatment include:

Back to topWhy is it important to know if your suffering from Sleep Apnoea?

Unfortunately, those with moderate to severe OSA have a reduced life expectancy. They have a significantly higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease (including ischaemic heart disease and stroke). OSA contributes to the risk of developing diabetes and, for those who are diabetic, OSA worsens c...

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Back to topHow is it treated?

It is important that sleep apnoea treatment is tailored to your particular characteristics including the severity of your OSA. Weight loss is often an important component of treatment, and it may be all that is needed. Other forms of treatment include:

Back to topWhy is it important?

Unfortunately, those with moderate to severe OSA have a reduced life expectancy. They have a significantly higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease (including ischaemic heart disease and stroke). OSA contributes to the risk of developing diabetes and, for those who are diabetic, OSA worsens c...

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Back to topWhere can I get CPAP?

It is important that CPAP treatment is prescribed and directed by your sleep physician with regular review. A good CPAP therapy retailer will help you with mask fit and adjustment, and provide support especially during the first month of treatment. It is desirable to meet with the retailer several...

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Back to topWhat is Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

OSA is extremely common. In the United States, 25% of men and 10% of women are affected; estimates are similar in Australia. About 5% of the adult population has OSA of a severity that poses a significant threat to health. The condition is characterised by snoring and repetitive blockage of the up...

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Back to topHow can I know whether I have OSA?

Presence of the following make a diagnosis of OSA more likely:

  • Loud snoring.Episodes of breathing pauses, choking or gasping during sleep, usually observed by the bed partner.
  • Obesity
  • A family history of OSA
  • Older age.
  • Unrefreshing sleep an...

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Back to topWhat is CPAP?

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is a highly effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. It involves wearing a mask on the face that is connected to a small machine. The machine acts as an "air pump", delivering pressurised air through the mask, preventing upper airway collapse and o...

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Dr Adrian Chazan

MBBS MELB FRACP

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Dr Chazan is a Respiratory & Sleep Physician, and General Physician. Born in Melbourne, he undertook his basic medical training at the University of Melbourne. With a passion for sleep and breathing, he trained at world-renowned centres of excellence in Melbourne and Sydney, including Westmead Hospital, the Alfred Hospital and Monash Medical Centre. Adrian has been involved in research activities in the fields of sleep apnoea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and exercise physiology.

Adrian utilises the latest findings in sleep research as well as the emerging technologies in diagnosis and treatment. He takes a patient-centered approach to medical care with the aim of empowering his patients to achieve better sleep and optimal long-term health outcomes.

Dr Rajiv Sharma

MBBS MD FRACP

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Dr Sharma completed his basic physician training in St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. Subsequently he trained in Respiratory Medicine at The Canberra Hospital and Sleep Medicine at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Prior to relocating to Melbourne, he worked as a full time Respiratory & Sleep Medicine staff specialist at Townsville Hospital. Rajiv enjoys managing all aspects of Respiratory and Sleep disorders including Asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease, chronic cough, lung nodules, sleep apnoea, hypersomnolence, restless legs syndrome and other non-respiratory sleep disorders.

He also has a special interest in interventional pulmonology (bronchoscopic techniques). Dr Sharma also has keen interest and experience in medical education and research and has been involved in these areas for a number of years.

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