Waistlines continue to expand – and snoring is held responsible.

According to recent data this is happening despite obesity having appeared to be reaching a plateau. Extensive research suggests that the average adult waist size increased by more than 1in (2.5cm) between 1999 and 2012 but figures for obesity as defined by body mass index (BMI) changed little over the same period.

Weight gain woman getting dressed wearing jeans

 

Factors such as snoring causing a lack of sleep are getting the blame and in all, 25% of the UK population now suffers from some form of sleep disorder that results in excessive daytime sleepiness.

Very accurate figures from the USA show that the average male waist size is now 40 inches, and 38 inches for women – and the UK is rarely far behind.

Current UK figures estimate that there are now around 15 million snorers and one third of these are women. The female percentage of the total is also growing. In addition, research reveals that two thirds of partners normally only manage between three and five hours sleep a night usually because those sharing a bed with a ‘simple’ snorer can have to endure noise which can reach as much as 100 decibels.

 

Many women are now admitting to having a ‘simple’ snoring problem for the very first time.Are you a woman and do you snore? If so, we would like to hear from you or your partner to hear your different viewpoints.

 

So-called “simple” snoring is much more common than obstructive sleep apnoea, but it can be more difficult to treat. There are plenty of adverts in newspapers and on websites for devices ‘guaranteed’ to stop you snoring!  But do they work? The answer is probably not. The only stop snoring device approved by medical experts is the mouthpiece, or oral appliance, sometimes called an MAD – or a mandibular adjustment or advancement device to give it the correct full title.

The mandibular device eases the lower jaw forward onto the upper jaw, so that there’s more space at the back of the throat and breathing is easier. Simple things like losing weight, not drinking alcohol or taking sedatives 4 hours before going to sleep can help.  There is little evidence to show that surgery – which was in vogue about 10 years ago – actually works.

Snoring occurs when the soft palate tissue at the back of the throat relaxes too much, obstructing the entrance to the throat. As air tries to pass through, the soft palate vibrates and produces the snoring sound.

The problem may get worse with age but one of the main causes is size and body shape. People with short wide necks are most prone to snoring because the muscles around their windpipe can’t support the fat around it when the person is asleep. As a general rule, anyone with a collar size of 16.5 inches or more is likely to snore.

Other snorers may have poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat, with muscles that are too relaxed and so contribute to snoring. It may be due to large throat tissue. Children with large tonsils often snore. It could also be an obstructed nasal passageway. People with blocked noses often snore.

But it can be stopped – a simple oral appliance will do that immediately for most people, bringing you a wide range of health benefits, better rest, and if this is combined with a simple weight loss programme then great results can be achieved by anyone.

A much healthier life follows when you start to use a mouthpiece.

By John Redfern


Treating Sleep Apnoea can balance the NHS budget

Can the NHS cut costs and meet rising expectations?  Treating OSA could save it £28 billion per year and the diagram below shows how cutting down the treatment being required for so many health issues could do it.

Male figure in anatomical position

In all cases these are the Government’s own figures that are being used.

Although all the major political parties have pledged to protect the NHS from spending cuts, after a period of unprecedented growth there is now the prospect of a both a funding freeze, or close to it, and cut backs in some vital services including A&E. and the provision of some life-extending drugs. Other changes include elderly care, with more having to be done at home under family supervision at the individual’s own cost.

This would be the most austere period for the NHS in over thirty years.  Even with funding held constant, rising demands from an ageing population, together with higher public expectations driven by clinical developments, mean there is likely to be a substantial “funding gap” to be met by improvements in ‘productivity and efficiency’ – for want of a better term.  The NHS Chief Executive estimates that savings of around £25 billion will be required to maintain the quality of care that is currently on offer.

In last week’s Westminster debate, Government figures stated emphatically that improved and more widespread treatment of OSA would save the NHS £28 billion per year if it happened. Other countries have adopted this type of treatment plan and success stories are already in existence – yet we lag behind. Other nations are training both doctors and dentists to understand sleep apnoea better, and treat it, but it’s not happening here as yet.

The good news is that rather than wait until obstructive sleep apnoea is so severe that it demands supervised medical care, including the costly use of CPAP, a pump that is used all night to force air through a face mask, it can be stopped easily – and often reversed as well.

Mild and moderate OSA sufferers need only to undertake a programme of simple oral appliance therapy to do this. This recent recommendation was made by a team of medical experts at the UK’s leading specialist centre for sleep disorders. 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 team at Papworth tested a range of different types of oral appliances and stated that SleepPro Custom should be used as the foremost appliance to treat mild OSA, and also that it should replace CPAP for moderate OSA sufferers – particularly the many who disliked the uncomfortable side effects of CPAP, and often stopped using it because of this.

If you do this for yourself, and the NHS does the same in its turn, then not only will it safeguard your future health, but also free up NHS budget for other things. It’s a very small cost to extend or even save your life.

By John Redfern


UK Parliament debates sleep apnoea and the costs to the NHS

Earlier this month, British members of parliament (MPs) held a debate on the steps that the government should take to facilitate the better diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

The BBC recorded the 30-minute debate in full and a link to this is provided at the foot of this article if you wish to view and hear it online.

Debate on Sleep Apnoea

Julie Hilling, Labour MP for Bolton West, led the debate and stated. ”We need to make both the public and medical practitioners aware,” Hilling said after relating stories of several constituents who suffered with delayed sleep apnoea diagnoses.

The cost savings to the NHS of treating OSA patients would be enormous, Hilling said. “Currently we estimate that only 22% of all OSA patients are treated across the UK. If we were to Increase diagnosis and treatment rates to 45% of all OSA patients—just 45%—this could yield an annual saving of over 28 billion pounds to the NHS.” “It seems to me the time for talking is over…It’s now time to take action,” said Hilling in conclusion before passing the debate to the Health Minister.

Health Minister Norman Lamb replied that he agrees about the need to raise awareness and understanding, not just among the general public but also particularly among general practitioners. He concluded by saying the economic case demonstrates that better preventative work will save the system massive amounts of money and improve constituents’ lives both in quality and length.

At SleepPro we have often focused on OSA and Health Costs – not only for maintaining quality of life and good care for the more elderly members of our community, but also for cutting back on a wide range of the major illnesses including Cancer, Coronary Disease, Diabetes and some of the other serious illnesses at a younger age level. OSA does not discriminate and exists at all ages – even in babies.

The NHS is costing us all significantly more each year and statistics show that with higher unemployment and more people on Pension and State Benefits, the Government need to make the public aware of the increasing burden on the taxpayer and the possible resultant lowering of service provision.

Reducing snoring and other major sleep disorders can help significantly in taking pressure off the soaring NHS budgets and that can help us all.

Leading specialists estimate that 200,000 people in the UK suffer from sleep apnoea, but many however are totally unaware they have the condition, and only one in five get the appropriate treatment – and that figure excludes the many millions of snorers whose health suffers as a consequence of doing so – again a problem ignored by the majority.

They state that “Widespread availability of resources to diagnose and treat sleep apnoea patients are urgently needed to reduce the crippling health and economic burden of this condition. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of people with sleep apnoea is of paramount importance.”

If you suspect that you suffer from this condition – act now – and read this website for more details of the condition. Using a simple oral appliance, like a sports gum shield, could save your life or that of your partner.

The SleepPro Custom does exactly that and is not only NHS Approved, but has been recently researched alongside other products by Papworth Hospital’s specialist medical team, and is recommended by them as being the leading recommended solution for OSA and snoring.

LINK to Parliament Debate

By John Redfern


Stopping Snoring • True Stories

As specialists in helping to eliminate sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnoea we regularly hear from people about their problems and experiences and it’s rewarding to know that we have improved sleep and breathing issues for so many people over the years. We are privileged to hear personal stories that remind me of the importance of helping people get good sleep and the role sleep plays in the quality of their lives and the lives of those we love. Our sleep not only affects both our  short and long term health but also our perspective on life, our happiness and our ability to enjoy each and every day. We are often given a glimpse of the impact that improved sleep has had on their lives by eliminating or reducing serious snoring problems so I would like to share some of these stories with you.

Chef couple man and woman posing in kitchen

The first story comes from a married couple who travel a great deal in the summer providing specialist back up as chefs to hotels in the busy summer period when there are more visitors, and of course the usual flurry of weddings. Oral appliance therapy provided the ideal solution for their different, yet related, health and sleep concerns. He has successfully used an MAD for snoring and moderate obstructive sleep apnoea, and her upper airway resistance syndrome and morning headaches have been resolved by using a simpler mouthpiece. Last summer they visited 10 different hotels only to discover that they and only one other couple were able to sleep in the same room together! They hadn’t realised how widespread the effect of snoring and OSA was on couples and their intimacy, and they were grateful to have taken the simple steps to get the problem solved.

Secondly, a father and his daughter attend a family reunion together each year. Last summer his snoring had become so unbearable in the night that her only reprieve was on the other side of the hotel’s bathroom door. He awoke to find his young daughter curled up in the bottom of the cold bathtub asleep. While impressed with her resourcefulness, it broke his heart to think that she was so desperate to escape his snoring she would abandon the comfort of her bed to get any semblance of sleep that night. But it was not in vain because it finally prompted him to find a solution. It was a timely event because he realised he was suffering from mild sleep apnoea. A year later, after sleeping by using an oral appliance, he is healthier and far more energetic. During this year’s annual reunion trip, his daughter was amazed by her father’s quiet and peaceful sleep throughout the night. She got to sleep in the comfort of a real bed and enjoy her time with her father this year … and we hope this will be for many years to come!

The final story comes from a typical loving couple who simply could not sleep together anymore. Over the years, his loud snoring had driven them apart and into separate bedrooms. Understandably her partner’s snoring led to her irritability and lack of energy, which prevented them from enjoying their life together. He went ahead and acquired a custom fitted mouthpiece without telling his wife, and when it arrived, she was furious at first that he had spent the money. It seemed he was in the doghouse, but he was almost immediately redeemed after just one night. His snoring stopped and his wife had the first quiet restful sleep in years. He had given her the best gift possible – a good night’s sleep!

Stories like these are not uncommon – we hear them all the time. Yet 80 per cent of people who struggle and suffer from unresolved pain and sleep problems remain undiagnosed. That’s why patients like this need to share their stories to help other people live healthier and happier lives.

By John Redfern