Sleep apnoea is a risk factor for strokes

“Sleep apnoea is one step removed from the heart attack or stroke — it’s what the sleep apnoea does to the circulatory system and heart that causes the stroke,”

Dr. Belen Esparis, who is the Medical Director of the Mount Sinai Medical Centre for Sleep Disorders in Miami, USA, has seen many patients who have been in car accidents after falling asleep at the wheel, and others who have developed abnormal heart rhythm, and they all have one thing in common. They all suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, a common sleep disorder characterized by interruptions in breathing during sleep, which can occur as many as 100 times per hour.

Team of doctor running in a hospital hallway with a patient in a bed

This sleeping disorder mostly affects people aged 40 and older, often who are overweight. More men than women suffer from the sleeping disorder, but it becomes more common amongst both sexes as they age.  It can however be found in younger people – and even children and teenagers.

Sleep apnoea is known to cause a range of cardiovascular, neurological and behavioural problems, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, poor memory, Diabetes Type II, lack of concentration and depression.

It is also known to be a serious risk factor for strokes.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted, depriving the brain of the vital oxygen supply. A stroke may of course be caused by a narrowed or blocked artery supplying blood to the brain or by a burst blood vessel in the brain.

The interruptions in breathing that characterize sleep apnoea also lead to low oxygen levels in the blood and brain.

“Sleep apnoea triggers a series of responses in the body as a result of low oxygen levels,” Dr. Esparis said. “One of them is hypertension — an increase in blood pressure.”

Hypertension associated with sleep apnoea occurs because of the strain that low oxygen levels in the blood and brain place on the cardiovascular system. As high blood pressure is an independent risk for stroke, sleep apnoea becomes an indirect cause of stroke.

It is important to note that the effect of sleep apnoea on the circulatory system and all the bodily processes associated with low oxygen levels and hypertension will not put people at risk for stroke from one day to the next. It takes several years or even decades of all these things running in the background to make a stroke happen.

To eliminate the potential for strokes and other risks associated with low oxygen levels in the body, sleep apnoea must be treated. In extreme cases, continuous positive airway pressure machines, known as CPAP, use nose masks and a hose connected to the machine to deliver pressurized air to the lungs throughout the night.

For overweight patients who are at risk – or who suffer from less extreme forms of sleep apnoea, the medically recommended route is to use oral appliance therapy and not CPAP, which many patients dislike.

For mild to moderate cases of sleep apnoea, specially fitted mouthpieces such as the SleepPro Custom are available without prescription and these will eliminate snoring and apnoea problems immediately. They will also feel comfortable as they are custom fitted to the shape of your mouth and will allow you to sleep well. Couple this new found sleep regime with a simple programme of weight loss and the whole problem of sleep apnoea and the associated health problems will stop and is even reversible.

By John Redfern


How badly do you snore – it could be the death of you.

Daytime sleepiness has become an accepted consequence of our busy lives today. We overload our schedules, stay up too late, and even sleep with our smartphones by the bedside. We then walk around yawning and guzzling coffee to stay awake the next day. But if having a short nap now and then doesn’t relieve your daytime sleepiness, then your lifestyle may not be the culprit — it could be obstructive sleep apnoea – not to be confused with simple snoring.

Yawning coffee woman in morning

Obstructive sleep apnoea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much when you are asleep. This lets the tissues around your throat close in and block the airway. You stop breathing for a few seconds (this pause in breathing is called apnea). Your brain has to wake you up because of this so you gasp or change positions to unblock the airway. You aren’t even aware it’s happening. These stop-breathing episodes can occur dozens of times per hour, making you feel tired the next day. Even worse, they increase your blood pressure and heart rate, putting stress on the cardiovascular system and increasing your risk for a stroke along with other serious things like Diabetes.

You probably think you’re just snoring but it’s something far more serious.

Several million people in the UK have obstructive sleep apnoea — and many millions more don’t know they have it. The occurrence of this is rising rapidly and over three quarters of cases of obstructive sleep apnoea remain undiagnosed. It’s happening because more and more of us are overweight or obese and too much fat in the neck can add to airway blockage during your sleep.

Daytime sleepiness is just one sign of obstructive sleep apnoea. Others include:

  • Loud snoring, often accompanied by gasping for breath
  • A bed partner observing pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty staying asleep

Some people don’t want to deal with the problem by having the old-style treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, which often includes wearing a mask at night that uses forced air to keep your airway unblocked. This is known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). They just can’t face doing that.

However newer treatments using simple oral appliances, or mouthpieces like in sport, are now recommended. They are equally effective for those of us who are sufferers of either mild or moderate sleep apnoea – and that tends to be most of the people who have the problem. Acute sufferers still need to use CPAP, but if you start with a mouthpiece now – then you’ll probably never need to use CPAP, as sleep apnoea can not only be halted but also reversed.

If you have any of the listed symptoms or risk factors along with daytime sleepiness, it’s time to wake up to the possibility that you’re not just snoring but may have obstructive sleep apnoea. So start thinking about getting treatment for your snoring and sleep apnoea. It can make your sleep, and your health, much better. The SleepPro Custom mouthpiece is medically recommended in recent UK Hospital tests. It is an approved NHS product, and is available without fuss or prescription – specially made and fitted for your mouth to ensure maximum comfort and high effectiveness. You’d be wise to check it out.

By John Redfern


NEW RESEARCH RECOMMENDS SLEEPPRO CUSTOM MOUTHPIECE FOR SLEEP APNOEA

The SleepPro Custom mouthpiece is now medically recommended for OSA sufferers.

A new independent clinical study has just been carried out by a leading research team based at Papworth Hospital, the purpose of which was to evaluate the success of a selection of oral appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnoea. Papworth Hospital is world-renowned in its field and it leads the way as Britain’s top heart and lung specialist hospital, as well as having the largest respiratory support and sleep centre in the UK.

The research had two main objectives. These were firstly to test the clinical effectiveness of each MAD that was used, and secondly to assess the cost effectiveness of each when evaluated against a basis of no treatment.

Three main types of MAD were tested and these included less expensive types that had been self-moulded, mid-priced ones that were semi-bespoke, and also the more expensive fully bespoke versions. The research panel only comprised those sufferers with had symptoms of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea.

CPAP vs S2

Of the trialed versions, semi-bespoke types such as the SleepPro Custom were by far the most effective with regards to both cost, and clinical effectiveness and improvement. The SleepPro Custom device headed the tables in each aspect of the test.

As a result the two key recommendations for the semi-bespoke appliances such as the SleepPro Custom version, which was actually selected and used in the trial, are as follows:

  • Semi-bespoke appliances should be offered as first line treatment for mild OSA
  • Semi-bespoke appliances should be offered as an alternative   to CPAP for moderate OSA

Although some oral appliances have been used to treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) for a good while in many countries, they have still continued to be prescribed much less frequently than CPAP, as previously there was little definitive proof of their efficacy – until now.  These new findings and the clear conclusions of this vital new research have now been published in the British Medical Journal, and should affect the treatment of OSA worldwide in future years.

Any mild or moderate OSA sufferer can now use the SleepPro Custom mouthpiece with the reassurance of knowing that it is recommended for its high degree of effectiveness in treating obstructive sleep apnoea, and they need no longer struggle with the many other problems they find with CPAP. The benefits for the mild to moderate OSA sufferer are immense. Efficacy and comfort for the user obviously leads the way, along with a real ease of use and true convenience, coupled with major cost advantages.

The SleepPro Custom that was used and tested in this research is a special mouthpiece made from a laboratory-grade impression of your own teeth, which means that you can expect a perfect fit. It’s thin, it’s comfortable, and the great news now is that it will not only help you to stop snoring but also combat the severe dangers of sleep apnoea.

It will be much easier to travel with this simple small mouthpiece than a cumbersome kit, either on business, or on holiday, knowing that its efficacy matches that of a CPAP mask and oxygen system. Using CPAP can be off putting to many sufferers for a number of other reasons such as the drying of the mouth and throat, and of course, claustrophobia.

If you snore heavily, or you suffer from mild to moderate OSA, then it’s really time to switch to the SleepPro Custom; something that might prove to be a true life-saving move.

SleepPro appliances are NHS approved, and the full range offers you an effective and appropriate oral appliance to suit your particular stop snoring or OSA needs, and they come at a price that you can easily afford.

By John Redfern