Snoring & Obstructive Sleep Apnoea FAQ

Question: What is the cause of snoring and should someone be concern about his/her snoring problem?

Snoring is a common problem that we see in our clinical practice. Often times, it is the sleeping partner’s (usually the wife) complaints and frustrations that brought this problem to the patient’s attention.

Snoring occurs when there is vibration of tissues in the throat and can be a symptom of partial upper airway obstruction causing noisy breathing during sleep. Sometimes, this partial obstruction can progress to complete upper airway obstruction, and in this instance, patients will have a high chance of suffering from Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). OSA occurs when there is recurrent complete or near-complete obstruction of the upper airway when the person is asleep resulting in frequent arousals, lower oxygenation in the blood, and poor-quality sleep.

Question: How prevalent is OSA and what are the risk factors for someone to develop OSA?

The prevalence of OSA in our adult population is estimated to be about 15%. The risk factors associated with OSA include obesity, increased age (generally from middle age & older), male patients, and those with facial & jaw abnormalities.

Common areas of Airway obstruction

In our clinical evaluation of patients with snoring, it is important for us to differentiate those with just Simple snoring (i.e. not associated with OSA), and those patients that could have OSA. This differentiation is important for 2 main reasons:

(1) the medical consequences & complications; as well as

(2) the treatment approach for these 2 groups are different.

Question: Other than snoring, how do you diagnose someone with OSA?

Besides very loud snoring, patients with OSA will usually have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Choking or gasping episodes during sleep
  • Feeling unrefreshed (even after supposed ‘enough hours’ of sleep)
  • Morning headaches
  • Some might also suffer from depression, irritation, decreased libido, poor work performances and are involved in more road traffic accidents.

To help us to definitively diagnose and quantify the severity of OSA, we would do an overnight sleep study for patients whom we suspect clinically to be suffering from this condition. The sleep study is a non-invasive diagnostic test during which parameters such as breathing effort, blood oxygen levels, heart rhythm and muscle activity are monitored during sleep.   

Question: Are there any consequences of not treating someone who has OSA?

We know as a fact that Undiagnosed and Untreated OSA can lead serious medical consequences and complications over time. These include high blood pressure, heart attack, irregular heart rhythm, memory loss, stroke and even sudden death. It is therefore very important that we take the treatment of OSA seriously to prevent the onset of complications.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Question: How do you treat someone with snoring and OSA?

When it comes to treatment for snoring and OSA, establishing the diagnosis and severity is important because the approach can be different.

For patients with Simple Snoring, the treatment usually starts with more conservative measures such as weight loss, avoidance of alcohol & sedative medications, relieving nasal obstruction & congestion, and advising patients to sleep on their side rather than on the back. If the problem persists, then surgery of the soft palate and/or the nasal septum & inferior turbinates (to improve nasal airflow) can help our patients.

As for the treatment for OSA, it largely depends on the severity.

Sleeping on your side

for Sleep Apnoea & Snoring

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

- CPAP Therapy

Question: So, how do you treat OSA with different severity?

For patients with mild OSA, we would generally advise similar treatment measures as mentioned above for snoring. In addition, we would monitor our patients closely to assess its effectiveness and also for progression of OSA or onset of complications. Depending on clinical response and treatment compliance, we would discuss other therapeutic options (such as jaw/tongue exercises, dental appliances or surgery) with patients.    

For patients with Moderate or Severe OSA, we would also recommend a medical device called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). What CPAP does is to deliver room air to the nose and back of the throat at a slightly elevated pressure to prevent the airway from collapsing during sleep. Effectively, it works like an “air-splint” to keep the airway open. CPAP is safe, highly effective and generally well-tolerated. Notwithstanding, we understand some patients may have concerns and experienced initial hiccups using the CPAP, but it is important to persevere and work with your care providers to optimize the use of CPAP.

Question: What if the patient, despite trying very hard, still cannot tolerate or unable to use CPAP effectively?

We understand that despite best efforts, there are some who may not tolerate CPAP well or may have conditions (such as nose block) which makes it difficult to use the CPAP effectively. For this group of patients, surgery may be an option to consider. However, I must also highlight that surgery for the upper airway to treat OSA is complex and it is best to speak to your ENT specialist to discuss the options available and work out an appropriate treatment plan.

Question: What are the different types of surgery for patients with OSA?

In general, the various types surgery for OSA would include the following:

(a)  Nasal surgery - this is mainly to correct deviated nasal septum and enlarged inferior turbinates. This would help to address the problem of nasal obstruction.

(b)  Palatal surgery - surgery to the soft palate, tonsils and the immediate surrounding areas with the aim to enlarge the narrow airway at the palatal level. 

(c)   Hypopharyngeal and Base of tongue surgery - surgery in this region is quite complex. This will involve removing tissue in the hypopharynx, reducing the tongue size and increasing the tension on the tongue to give the airway more room and space. 

(d)  Skeletal or bone surgery of the jaw - these are complex and aggressive surgical procedures. It generally involves forward movement of the lower jaw and the mid-face to create more space for the tongue. This helps to open up the upper airway and prevent its collapse during sleep. 

Question: For someone suffering from significant snoring problem, what would be your advice?

If your snoring is persistent and possibly getting worst, I would advise you to see an ENT specialist to have a proper evaluation and to exclude OSA. We know that OSA if left undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to serious medical complications. If you do suffer from OSA, it is best to discuss with your doctor about the treatment options available and work out a treatment plan which is suitable for you.

Dr Kang Wee Lee - ENT (Visiting Consultant)


Health Assessment & Screening Packages

Sinopharm COVID-19 & Latest Influenza Vaccines (Protects against Flu and H1N1 Viruses) / Pre-Departure COVID-19 PCR  Swab & Serology Tests for Travellers, Supervised Antigen Rapid Test (ART) done from your home, Pre-Event COVID Testing and Serology Testing to Certify Vaccination status. Make your Appointment at Tel: 6694 1661

Flu Subsidy Scheme eligible for Singaporeans & PRs (Pay subsidized rate of $10 for Consultation and Treatment) & Merdeka Generation /Pioneer Generation seniors (Pay subsidized $5) for patients with Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs).

Pain Management

Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine in Singapore

Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine is now available @ MD International Medical Centre. Make a Vaccination or Booster Appointment at Tel: 6694 1661. Learn more about Sinopharm here.

Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV vaccine has now been approved for use by private clinics in Singapore against the COVID-19 virus under the Special Access Route. It is the first China-made vaccine to be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

To date, more than a billion doses of the Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV have been administered. The vaccine has also been approved for use in over 50 countries around the world.

Inactivated vaccines are a tried-and-tested form of vaccine technology which is used in other well-established vaccines, such as the Flu and Hepatitis B vaccines.

If you would like to receive the Sinopharm vaccine or booster, please make your appointment at MD Int'l Medical Centre at Tel: 6694 1661.

Effects of COVID-19 on the Brain

COVID Symptoms to watch out for:

SARS-CoV-2 Virus Infection of Human Organ  Tissues through Cell ACE-2 Receptors:

Ministry of Health Recommendation :

  • For persons who have already completed their Primary series with mRNA vaccines and are recommended to get a booster, but are unable to take another dose of mRNA vaccines for medical reasons, they may boost using one dose of Sinopharm vaccine. The booster should be taken six months after mRNA dose 2 (M-M-S).
  • For persons who are unable to take the the 2nd dose of mRNA vaccines for medical reasons, they may complete their vaccination with the Sinopharm vaccine. 2 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine is recommended to complete the Primary series. The 2nd Sinopharm dose  should be taken 28 days after the 1st Sinopharm dose (M-S-S).

For recovered persons who had not completed a primary series before infection:

  • For persons who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection but received 1 dose or none of COVID-19 vaccination prior, they may receive 2 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine (28 days interval between doses), 3 months after the date of infection to complete a primary vaccination series (Recovered-S-S or S-Recovered-S-S or M-Recovered-S-S).
  • For persons who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection and had received 2 doses of Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines prior, they may receive 1 dose of Sinopharm after 3 months from the date of infection to complete a primary vaccination series (S-S-Recovered-S).

Diabetes Symptoms, Monitoring, Diet, Treatment & Health tips

Co-infection of COVID-19 with other infectious diseases is possible.

Reduce your risk of getting sick with COVID-19

  • Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. People older than 65 years, and those with many underlying conditions, such as those who are immunocompromised or with significant liver disease, are recommended to receive vaccinations against Influenza and pneumococcal disease (PCV). Click here for Vaccination schedules (NAIS/NCIS).
  • Do not delay getting medical care for your underlying condition because of COVID-19. MD International Medical Centre has contingency MOH infection prevention protocols to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care for your underlying condition.
  • Continue your medications and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your doctor.
  • Make sure that you have at least a two-week supply of your chronic disease medications.
  • Call MDIMC @ Tel: 6694 1661 for a medical appointment if you have any concerns about your underlying medical conditions or if you get sick. Our clinic is a PHPC-accredited medical clinic. Under the MOH Swab & Go Home programme, our doctors can do a COVID-19 PCR Swab test if you meet the MOH medical crtieria.

Up to $400 per Medisave Account per year can be used for Vaccinations under the National Adult & Childhood Immunisation Schedule - Influenza, Pneumococcal (PCV13/PPSV), Human Papillomavirus (HPV2/HPV4), Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis (Tdap), Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) and Chickenpox (Varicella).

Part of MOH's Swab & Go Home programme. Our clinic can carry out the COVID-19 Swab test for anyone who meets the MOH medical criteria. All individuals aged 13 and above, diagnosed with ARI will be COVID Swab-tested. Cost of Swab test to be borne by Ministry of Health Singapore.

Part of the National Influenza Sentinel Surveillance programme with MOH. If you have a fever of > 38 degrees with a cough, our clinic is able to test for COVID-19. For children below 12 years old with clinical diagnosis of HFMD (eg fever, oral ulcers, rash), our clinic can test for Hand Foot & Mouth Disease (The tests are for surveillance purposes only).

Hypertension Symptoms & Treatment, Blood Pressure monitoring, BP Chart

Vitamins & Nutrients for a Well-functioning Immune System to Protect against COVID-19 & other Viral Infections

(Ref: Nutrients. 2020 Apr 23;12(4). pii: E1181. doi: 10.3390/nu12041181 Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect against Viral Infections Calder PC1, Carr AC2, Gombart AF3, Eggersdorfer M4.

Asymptomatic patients may not display no symptoms of illness. Vulnerable people should get vaccinated against Influenza as the stop gap until the COVID vaccine is found. The Flu vaccine would protect susceptible people from, as well as exclude the Flu and H1N1 viruses should they start to show URTI or ARI symptoms.

- Latest Influenza Vaccine

The latest Influenza Vaccine is now available. It protects against the Flu and H1N1 Viruses. In the event that a person displays flu-like symptoms after the Flu vaccination, both Flu and H1N1 may be excluded in his diagnosis, and treatment can be sought quickly should the patient have contracted COVID-19.

Ministry of Health Safety protocols are adhered to at all times for the safe vaccination of you and your family.

* Latest COVID-19 Updates & Health Tips

* Importance of Keeping your Vaccinations Up-to-date

Heart Health - Coronary Heart Disease, Learn what is Angina and Stroke, as well as How to Lower Cholesterol

MD International Medical Centre

Medical Services available :

Public Health Preparedness Clinic

National University Health System Primary Care Network

Singapore Ministry of Health Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP)

The information provided in this website is for knowledge purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice.

Should you encounter any medical problem that you are unsure of, always consult your doctor or health care provider for assistance and medical advice.

MD International (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.
Share this page:

9 Taman Serasi #01-11, Botanic Gardens View

Tel : 65-6694-1661  Fax : 65-6694 1771

Email :

Clinic hours:

Monday to Friday: 9am-12.30pm / 2pm-6.30pm    Saturday: 9.30am-1pm

*Last registration is 30mins before the closing time

Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays

- Cashless service with most International Insurance companies and Insurance Medical cards are accepted

- Japanese & Mandarin-speaking Doctors and Medical staff

Please contact us at Tel: 6694 1661 to make an appointment.

Please make an appointment for the following at Tel: 6694 1661:

* Minor Surgical Procedure

* Health Screening / Blood Test

* Dermatology Treatment

* Allergy Testing

* Pain Management & Treatment

* Vaccination

* Supervised COVID ART Test / Pre-Event Test

* Pre-Departure PCR Swab Test / Serology Testing


Dr Don Lau – Medical Director

MBBS (Monash), B Med Sc (Hons) (Monash), Dip Pract Derm (Wales, UK)

Fujiwara Takanori

The Chiropractic Association Singapore, Japan Chiropractic Register, American Chiropractic Association, California Chiropractic Association

Physiotherapy-trained NBCE The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners

YAMAGATA Chihiro 山懸千尋

Registered Psychologist

MD International Medical Centre

Medical Services

Minor Surgical Procedures :

·       Injection for Supraspinatus or Bicipital Tendonitis / Epicondylitis / Trigger finger / Plantar Fasciitis

·       Tendon Sheath Injection

·       Excision of small Skin tumours / Lipomas / Nail bed / Ear lobe cysts / Meibomian cyst

·       Removal of Skin sutures / Skin tags / Sebaceous cysts / Various foreign bodies / Corneal foreign body

·       Liquid Nitrogen Therapy

·       Treatment of Plantar Warts / Calluses / Corns / Ganglions

·       Splinters under nails

·       Olecranon and Pre-patellar Bursitis

·       Ear syringing

·       Embedded earring stud

Recent Articles

  1. Treatment for Knee Pain / Patellar tendinitis

    Jun 26, 22 09:32 PM

    Knee joints play an important role in supporting weight, standing, walking and running. Its main function is to bend, stretch and support the body.

    Read More

  2. High Blood Pressure or Hypertension

    Jun 26, 22 09:18 PM

    High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is a chronic condition. Find out the symptoms, causes and the self-help treatment you can adopt. A handy blood pressure chart is provided.

    Read More

  3. Regular aerobic exercise is one of the best ways for healthy aging.

    Jun 26, 22 09:14 PM

    Brain aging is characterized by declines in cognitive function. Learn how to prevent MCI, dementia and neurodegenerative diseases eg Alzheimer's disease.

    Read More