Women, Snoring and the Menopause

It’s not just middle-aged overweight men who wreck their other half’s sleep.

Women are equally affected.

I read with interest an article in The Daily Mail recently where a woman discovered her snoring could result in serious health issues if untreated. Whilst napping on a train last summer she was suddenly woken by the sound of a loud snore.

She opened her eyes to see her family looking shocked, before bursting into loud giggles as she came to and in time to see a smartly dressed businesswoman gather up her laptop and move down the carriage.

In that moment she realised she was the one who had been snoring. To make matters worse, they were in the Quiet Zone. Everyone would have heard. She had always hoped that she was naturally feminine and alluring even while sleeping.

However over the past ten years her partner had repeatedly said she snored – sometimes when napping, and sometimes in the night when her snores had often woken him.  She always thought he was joking and denied it.

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Tired businesswoman asleep at her desk

She had always attributed snoring to smoking, or being overweight and indulging in too much alcohol or fatty foods – none of which applied. Then she recalled that she had been suffering a lot from daytime fatigue over the recent years. She had wondered occasionally if I something was seriously wrong. But then, in more sensible moments, thought she was just tired because of having a busy lifestyle.

The drowsiness had happened in a wide variety of situations; at the computer screen, in the cinema, and in front of the TV. She had even nodded off while on the phone.  It also happened during conversations with her family. She once found her daughter stabbing her awake with a pencil during a discussion about impending A-level choices.

Then she discovered, whilst in hospital for an unrelated matter, that her snoring could result in some very serious health issues if untreated.

Snoring and unexplained daytime sleepiness – either on their own or combined – may amount to nothing. But the two of them, together with increasing weight, and being aged over 50 indicates that the problem is likely to be OSA – Obstructive Sleep Apnoea – essentially, interrupted breathing during sleep.

When we sleep, our airways naturally relax and narrow. With sleep apnoea, the muscles and soft tissues around the airways relax and collapse so much they cause a blockage to the airway – the snoring is caused by the air being forced through a narrower space.  But if the airway becomes completely blocked you can actually stop breathing for ten seconds or more until you gasp or choke. It’s then that the brain starts the breathing process again.

The long-term effects of obstructive sleep apnoea, if not treated, is frightening. It’s linked to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. It can also lead to weight gain, which can only make OSA worse.’

Being excessively tired as a result of having your sleep repeatedly disrupted as you stop breathing during the night carries risks, too. ‘There is some research that shows that drivers who have OSA are six times more likely to have road accidents than those who don’t,’ says Professor Williams.

Yet the condition does not always get picked up as quickly as it should. Medical professionals believe 80 per cent of people with the condition are undiagnosed, many of them women, who are very reluctant, like the example described earlier, to admit that they snore.

John Redfern


FACT: Obesity causes snoring and it is highly dangerous

At the beginning of January I referred in an article to the fact that many more people are seeking medical help to try to stop them snoring and much of this increase is linked to the rising levels of obesity in the UK.

Since then even more data has been published in the Press and on TV. The statistical facts from this new report published by the NHS are extremely alarming. The main conclusion of the report, ‘State of the Nation’s Waistline’, is that over half of the UK population will be obese by the year 2050. If the current trend is not reversed there will be a cost of £50 billion per year to the National Health Service.

What is obesity?

Obesity is a term used to describe somebody who is very overweight with a high degree of body fat.

If you have a body mass index of 30 or above, you would be considered obese. It isn’t just a cosmetic issue, being obese increases your risk of developing a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

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What are the main NHS findings?

  • There has been a marked increase in obesity rates over the past eight years – in 1993 13% of men and 16% of women were obese – in 2011 this rose to 24% for men and 26% for women.
  • The proportion of adults with a healthy body mass index (BMI) – defined as being between 18.5 and 25 – fell to just 34% in men and 39% in women during 2011.
  • For children attending reception class (aged 4-5 years) during 2011-12, 9.5% were obese.
  • During 2011-12 there were 11,736 hospital admissions due to obesity – this over 11 times higher than during 2001-02.
  • In 2011, 53% of obese men and 44% of obese women were found to have high blood pressure.

The report acknowledges current government approaches to the obesity problem, including the Change4Life Programme and the Public Health Responsibility Deal, but highlights that some significant gaps that must be addressed. In summary, while there are glimmers of hope, the overall picture is bad and may be worse than previously assumed.

What is the cause of the problem?

The underlying causes of the UK’s (and most of the developed world’s) obesity epidemic are not addressed in the report, but there is a large consensus of expert opinion that the following factors are responsible, Primarily as a result of changed aspects of lifestyle including the following:

  • There is easy access to cheap, high-energy food that is often aggressively marketed to people.
  • People’s lifestyles and jobs are much less active than in the past and many leisure activities such as watching television, playing video games and browsing the internet are usually done sitting down.
  • People drive or use public transport and walk a lot less than before.
  • Higher alcohol consumption and late night eating

How do I know if I have a problem?

Snoring is the alarm call that warns you of likely health dangers and even premature death and must be acted upon immediately. Snoring itself can do great damage through poor sleep patterns, disturbed nights and oxygen deprivation – all with drastic results.

How do I tackle the problem?

Although the lifestyle aspects are hard to change, and may take considerable time to achieve results, the sleep deprivation through snoring can be solved fast – in fact almost immediately.

Stop snoring mouthpieces are recommended by all Health professionals worldwide, and are NHS approved. They are easily available and at a very low cost at under £40 for the basic mouthpiece, and work immediately to stop the problem and cut fatigue, so safeguarding future health.

They have a record of high effectiveness and also patient satisfaction.

By John Redfern


Do you have Sleep Apnoea? If so, it’s a Time Bomb – and it’s ticking…

25% of the UK population suffers some form of sleep disorder that results in excessive daytime sleepiness. The following clues may help you to decide if there’s a chance that you may have sleep apnoea, which is a highly dangerous condition.

  • Do you wake up most mornings with a dull headache?
  • Do you feel just as tired as when you went to sleep?
  • Has your partner moved to the spare room?
  • Do they complain about listening to you snore loudly?
  • Do you choke and appear to gasp for air?

If so, you may have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) — a condition where the upper passages of your airway close off, interrupting your breathing and depriving you of oxygen until you wake up and start breathing again. We believe that sleep apnoea affects more than 5 million UK adults but we also believe that around 80% of cases remain undiagnosed and the majority are living without treatment. OSA is a very dangerous condition to ignore.

Sleep Related Breathing Disorders

How common is OSA?

OSA is a relatively common condition that affects more men than women. In the UK, NHS figures estimate that around 4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women have OSA and these are just the known cases.

Due to the lack of diagnosis only estimates are possible – but based on the number of known cases, it is likely that this is the tip of the iceberg, and that there are around 5-6 million sufferers in reality – and due to causes like being overweight, this figure is growing fast.

The onset of OSA is most common in people aged 35 to 54 years old, although it can affect people of all ages, including children. Studies have also shown that 60% of people over 65 years old have OSA.

It is thought that up to 5% of adults have undiagnosed OSA – 3 million cases.

OSA is easy to treat but when left undiagnosed and untreated, is linked with a range of serious health concerns that include heart disease and stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure, called hypertension. Fatigue becomes a huge problem too.

Mild to moderate OSA has proved far easier to treat that severe OSA and can be helped by the use of a simple mouthpiece that moves the jaw slightly forward and keeps the airway open – so breathing can be continuous. These have a high effectiveness rate – as much as 98% – and are inexpensive, simple to acquire as they need no prescription, and you will find that they are easy and comfortable to wear.

The result is that snoring stops immediately, you feel better rested, and you are likely for fewer long-term health problems. It’s a wise investment.

If the problem persists then consult your GP who will refer you for a Sleep Test to determine more fully the problem and its severity, but mouthpieces work for most sufferers and do it fast.

By John Redfern


The best New Year Resolution is to Stop Snoring, sleep better, and live longer

The start of a new year is always a time for us all to reassess our lives and undertake new directions, particularly as far as our health is concerned. To help us to do this, the current growth in our scientific and medical knowledge has included an improved understanding of sleep and its vital importance to our long-term health.

The past few years has seen significant advances in research showing a clear connection between poor and disturbed sleep and health conditions that range from early death to strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease and even cancer. Science is clarifying how important this is and why getting enough quality, refreshing sleep is vital to have happy and healthy lives. At the same time, public awareness is now beginning to grow about the importance of good sleep.

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Many factors contribute to poor sleep, and at least some of them can be addressed with wider recognition of sleep’s role for health. Sleep remains relatively low on most people’s priority list, and the result is that people do not address factors that harm sleep and are at least partially controllable: busy schedules, stress, smoking, alcohol or weight gain. It is time for us to pay much more attention to sleep and to modify our lifestyles to recognize the value of sleep to our future health.

A key element of this is to stop snoring. This is the most widespread sleep disorder of all, but is so often ignored and even thought amusing, which it certainly isn’t, either for the person snoring, or anyone else that has constantly disturbed sleep due to the problem.

We need to learn that it’s so easy stop snoring and sleep better.

It’s also vital to consider if it’s just snoring or is it sleep apnoea which is a more dangerous problem altogether, but often with an equally simple and similar solution.

The biggest tell tale sign is how you feel during the day. Normal snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep quite as much as sleep apnoea does, so you’re less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day.

Even if you don’t have sleep apnoea, a snoring problem can still get in the way of your bed partner’s rest and affect your own sleep quality and health and there are quick, inexpensive, proven treatments that can help, and can do so fast without a prescription.
It’s as simple as acquiring a stop snoring mouthpiece to wear at night. They are readily available online, simple to use, and because they can be moulded to fit your teeth and jaw, are comfortable to wear. They are similar to a sports mouthpiece but with a different type of safety in mind as the end objective. More importantly they are incredibly effective and will stop the problem of snoring in 98% of cases.

To stop snoring by changing your lifestyle takes a very long time and you may not be successful, because as we know, it’s difficult to do, and slimming and stopping smoking are two prime examples of this. A mouthpiece on the other hand will work immediately.

For snoring, and mild to moderate cases of sleep apnoea, a stop snoring mouthpiece is now so often the solution of medical choice, and medical professionals and health authorities worldwide recommend them, including the NHS in Britain.

By John Redfern


Record number of snorers are seeking medical help

The number of snorers seeking medical help has soared by nearly a third in just five years, rising to a record all-time level. Hospitals have just revealed that patients went for 24,329 appointments last year after being referred to consultants by their GP – almost 500 every week. Obesity has been cited as the single major factor for the figure rising 31 per cent in just five years from 18,523 and more than doubling from 11,714 a decade ago.

  • Nearly 25,000 appointments were made at hospitals last year for snoring
  • Obesity has been cited as a major factor for the rising figure
  • The British Heart Foundation says obesity is a known risk factor for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and serious snoring and sleep disorders.
  • Snoring is caused by the vibration of soft tissue in the neck and while inhaling and it can be triggered by being just a few pounds overweight.

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Being overweight is a major factor in why sleepers develop problems and the condition can worsen as the pounds pile on because fatty tissue around the neck hinders airflow.

Snoring can worsen into sleep apnoea, a more serious condition where patients have short periods when they cannot breathe. The brain wakes them so they take in more oxygen but the cumulative effect means the patient has a dreadful night’s sleep and can often drop off during the day.

Sleep apnoea can have a debilitating effect on a patient’s life and this includes serious consequences at work. Transport officials have disclosed that 210 drivers had their HGV licences taken away in the last three years because of the problem.

It is estimated that around 15million people in the UK snore to some extent with around 180,000 going on to develop full-blown sleep apnoea and NHS data shows that the number of people admitted to hospital in England with sleep apnoea is also up from 8,803 ten years ago to 23,657 last year.

A worrying aspect of the trend is the rising number of children suffering the debilitating condition.

Last year, youngsters had 3,556 hospital appointments related to sleep apnoea in contrast to 2,949 five years ago and 2,143 a decade ago. Marianne Davey, director at the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association, said: ‘Lifestyle factors are still the number one reason for snoring and as the nation becomes fatter, snoring and sleep apnoea will increase.

There has been a four-fold increase in the number of children and teenagers admitted to hospital for obesity-related conditions in the last decade, doctors in England and Wales warn.

In 2009, nearly 4,000 young people needed hospital treatment for problems complicated by being overweight compared with just 872 in 2000.

Rates of obesity surgery also went up, especially for teenage girls.

Doctors say the UK has the highest rate of child obesity in Western Europe.

Obesity has been linked with serious illnesses during childhood and an increased risk of developing conditions, such as type-2 diabetes, asthma and breathing difficulties during sleep. Snoring can worsen into sleep apnoea, a more serious condition where patients have short periods when they cannot breathe.

The good news is everybody can stop snoring. Make your New Year Resolution now.

By John Redfern