Snoring can shorten your lifespan – and many pension providers will pay you extra if you are a known sufferer with sleep apnoea

Lots of people snore. Maybe you do. Perhaps your spouse lies hopelessly awake at night praying some miracle will just shut you up for a second. Sound familiar? It does to me too, and we hear it often, but you may not realise that snoring often precedes several serious health conditions.

Businessman Brainstorming About Retirement Planning

Snoring might not strike you as grounds for a lifetime pay increase at retirement but heavy snoring could in some cases boost income by up to 24%. Heavy snoring can be a sign someone suffers from a condition called sleep apnoea or OSA and sufferers don’t just snore; they also stop breathing for short periods during sleep, which can have serious health implications.

According to Hargreaves Lansdowne, one of the UK’s leading pension advisers, some enhanced annuity providers are willing to pay a higher annuity income to someone with sleep apnoea. In their research, a man aged 65 could boost his pension annuity by up to £586 a year, by declaring his sleep apnoea together with just his height, weight and other personal details. This means more income for life – in other words a lifetime pay rise.

A better result however is to stop snoring through the use of a simple and inexpensive oral appliance – and as a consequence to live much longer. They are NHS Approved and recommended and don’t need a prescription or even for you to make a trip to your GP – they are available online.

The most important thing to understand is that snoring is a symptom. It is not normal, and it’s got very specific causes. There are many causes, including a weak jaw, congestion, excessive fat in the throat, weakness of the neck muscles and above all being overweight which is hard to avoid as we age.

Among the most common and most dangerous causes of snoring is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). It is seen most frequently in middle-aged men with heavy-set necks and shoulders, although anyone can have it and It occurs when the tongue and soft palate relax enough to make contact with the back of the throat, restricting airflow or stopping it completely.

And that’s the worrying part because sometimes OSA causes breathing to stop completely, which, if untreated, can cause major health problems.

When OSA causes breathing to stop, it’s called an ‘apneic event’ and this exerts stress on the heart, and the cumulative effect of lots of these events increases the risk of heart conditions. For instance, OSA patients are 30% more likely to have a heart attack and have greater risk of congestive heart failure due to pulmonary pressure build-up in the right side of the heart.

Hypertension

OSA is one cause of high blood pressure and when breathing stops during sleep, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure spike, which keeps blood pressure elevated throughout the night. This causes a very dangerous form of hypertension. Most people who suffer from hypertension get a bit of relief at night because their blood pressure falls whereas chronic snorers often experience high blood pressure for the entire 24 hours of the day.

Stroke

In men, OSA can increase the risk of stroke by almost 300%. But more importantly, this isn’t just seen in all the severe cases as you can be at greater risk even if you have moderate sleep apnea.

The Real Danger

The real danger of snoring is that obstructive Sleep Apnea often goes completely undiagnosed, so many people don’t know they’re at risk.
This is because the symptoms of OSA occur during sleep, and lots of people, especially those who don’t share a bed with anyone else, don’t even know they snore. Further, people tend to view snoring as something amusing. So, if you’re not sure if you snore, here are a few other symptoms to watch out for:

  • Excessive fatigue during the day
  • Restless sleep
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Being confused in the morning
  • Heart burn
  • Sore or dry throat

All in all, snoring seems harmless but it interfere with your overall health. The good news is that snoring can easily be stopped, and OSA can be treated successfully, easily, and inexpensively, by using a simple oral appliance.

 

John Redfern


Snoring and other sleep disorders cause a huge increase in Type 2 Diabetes

For far too many adults the idea of a good night’s sleep is just that – an idea. According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, the average person is sleeping 6 hours and 40 minutes on workdays, and an average of 7 hours and 25 minutes on other days. The numbers are a far cry from the average of 8 hours and 40 minutes per night that adults reported sleeping in the 1960s, and the health consequences of those lost hours can be dramatic, and may even be life-threatening.

Diabetes Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds, Sun Rays and Sky.

Sleep disturbances are very common in endocrine disorders, particularly in metabolic disorders. Sleep restriction, or poor quality sleep, is now widely recognized as a risk factor for both obesity and type 2 diabetes. Untreated sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnoea can exacerbate both diseases.

The consequences of chronic sleep loss can go far beyond simply feeling tired and research clearly shows that it produces a large increase in glucose sensitivity increasing the risk of diabetes.

UK Health News, along with many national newspapers this week reported that the number of people with diabetes in the UK has soared by 59.8% in a decade, according to a new analysis. Using official NHS data, the charity Diabetes UK says there are now more than 3.3 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes – an increase of 1.2 million adults compared with 10 years ago when there were just over 2 million people with the condition.

Diabetes UK is warning that this “exponential growth” in the numbers of people with diabetes underlines the urgent need for prevention before the sheer numbers of people with the disease overwhelms our health service resources.

It is also calling for better care and treatment for those who have already been diagnosed with this serious condition. Poorly managed diabetes can lead to devastating and expensive health complications such as kidney disease, stroke, blindness and amputations.

If we take steps to stop or prevent snoring, and control sleep apnea, we have hit the basis of the problem and it will go a long way to preventing type 2 diabetes, along with many other health problems.

Diabetes now uses 10% of NHS drugs bill

Diabetes now accounts for 10% of the NHS drugs bill in England, according to official figures and the latest Health and Social Care Information Centre report shows that £869m was spent on drugs for the disease last year which marks a sharp rise from the £514m being spent on the drugs a decade ago, when they accounted for just 6.6% of the prescriptions budget.

The figures include drugs for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes which affect 2.8 million people in England alone. It includes insulin, metformin and other anti-diabetic drugs.

Ian Bullard, who wrote the report, said: “It shows that 10p in the pound of the primary care prescribing bill in England alone is being spent on managing diabetes. Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent long-term conditions, and the number of patients being diagnosed with the condition is increasing each year.”

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, says: “Over the past decade, the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has increased by over 1 million people. With a record number of people now living with diabetes in the UK, there is no time to waste and the government must act now.

“Diabetes already costs the NHS nearly £10 billion a year, and 80% of this is spent on managing avoidable complications. So there is huge potential to save money and reduce pressure on NHS hospitals and services through providing better care to prevent people with diabetes from developing devastating and costly complications.

Educating the public is vital as to how they can prevent the onset of diabetes and other conditions. Now is the time for action. In addition Diabetes UK stresses that the NHS must prioritise better care and ensure that the public know what steps to take to prevent this.

Martin McShane, from NHS England, said: “These figures are a stark warning and reveal the increasing cost of diabetes. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s time to get serious about lifestyle change.”

Improving sleep, stopping snoring, controlling sleep apnoea and eating more healthily combined with losing weight are all key factors in the process.

 

John Redfern


Sleep apnoea treatment using bespoke oral appliances significantly reduces high blood pressure problems

Hypertension, which is usually referred to as high blood pressure, is one of the most common medical conditions to exist today, and it is probably the most widely treated. In more than 90% of cases, the cause of high blood pressure is unknown but several factors can increase your risk of developing the condition, including age, obesity, high alcohol intake, smoking and a lack of exerciObstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has close links to hypertension and research done recently in France has revealed that one very popular sleep apnoea treatment can help reduce blood pressure levels in patients with high blood pressure, and do it while they sleep.

Doctor checking blood pressure of his patient

Fatigue, daytime sleepiness and moodiness are all well-known side effects of a bad night’s sleep, the direct result of OSA, but many patients don’t realise that serious sleep problems can affect not only mood and energy levels, but physical health, as well. Raised blood pressure is a prime example of this.

Published as a research abstract in the Journal of Dental Sleep Medicine, the study monitored 299 patients with sleep apnoea, including 77 who also had high blood pressure. This took place over nine months while they used an oral appliance, a “mouth guard-like” device made to custom fit by a specialist approved company and worn during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. The researchers analysed the treatment’s effect on patients’ oxygen levels, sleep apnoea symptoms and overall quality of life.

Ultimately, the study found that oral appliance therapy using this kind of mouthpiece significantly lowered the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of patients with arterial hypertension. In 59%of these patients, blood pressure was normalised by using an oral appliance to treat sleep apnoea.

This is important news for patients struggling with sleep apnoea because oral appliances are often found to be more comfortable and easier to wear every night than the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask traditionally used to treat sleep apnoea. A CPAP machine sends a flow of air through tubing and a mask to keep the airway open and patients breathing. While it is highly effective at treating sleep apnoea, up to 50% of patients do not continue to use CPAP treatment long-term because they find it dries the mouth and it is both uncomfortable and oppressive.

If a patient is unwilling or unable to wear their CPAP nightly, they are most likely to be a prime candidate for oral appliance therapy. Custom-fitted by an NHS Approved specialist who works hand-in-hand with a sleep physician, oral appliances hold the lower jaw forward and keep the airway open. Oral appliances are silent, easy to travel with and proven effective, especially for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnoea.

The main example of this in the UK is the NHS Approved SleepPro Custom that has been rigorously tested by the Sleep Specialist team at the world-renowned Papworth Hospital in Britain, where they listed it as the number one choice to control mild to moderate OSA>

Sleep apnoea and high blood pressure are commonly tied together, and it’s important for snorers, and their families to be aware that untreated sleep apnoea is a potentially life-threatening condition. It can increase the risk for serious health problems from congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease to diabetes, obesity, depression and impotence.

SleepPro Custom is the leading NHS Approved appliance for heavier snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnoea, so if you, or another family member suffers from this health problem, then it’s important to start to control it as early as possible.

John Redfern


How will a Chin Support Strap help me to stop snoring?

For those who are not sure of what a chin support strap is, it is a one-piece band of flexible material that fits over the head and keeps the mouth closed whilst you’re sleeping. It fits comfortably over the top of the head and under the jaw and it adjusts easily to the best and most acceptable position – in fact, after a while, users say that it’s hardly noticed.

Overweight Woman Asleep In Bed Snoring

The chin support strap is the simplest, cost effective way to prevent snoring and is the perfect snoring treatment for open-mouthed snorers as it makes sure that the snorer’s mouth remains shut during sleep. This device offers an instant cure for most snorers, and being fully adjustable, it can even be worn by more than one person if required.

Despite the low cost, it is a long-lasting item, and importantly it is easy to keep clean. It can be either hand or machine-washed – but many people order two for both convenience and hygiene reasons. The low price makes this easily affordable, particularly compared to the heavy price you can pay for snoring with regards to both relationships and matters of health.

Another benefit to the snorer is that it vastly reduces the problem of having a dry mouth due to open-mouthed snoring, which is a common problem for this type of snorer and most uncomfortable as a side effect. It can work for you all on its own, as can a mouthpiece, but many heavier snorers wear a combination of both of these items for maximum effectiveness.

Chin Support Strap Benefits

  • It’s an easy solution that has a pretty good record of effectiveness.
  • It works immediately if it’s going to – straight away on the first night
  • It might be the preferred option if a mouthpiece is not for you
  • It can bridge the gap while you deal with the real problem, perhaps by slow weight loss or any other adjustment of your personal lifestyle
  • It gives you time to investigate other causes and solutions
  • It is very inexpensive

If, after using the chin support strap, the problem still continues, then try combining this item with an oral appliance; again inexpensive and bringing rapid results to help you stop snoring. Many people who snore particularly heavily have found that the combination of the two brings immediate relief.

Snoring is a major lifestyle and health problem for many people today and it can also cause the serious medical condition that is called sleep apnea. Furthermore, it gives a great deal of stress to the sufferer and also to those individuals who live with him or her. The chin support strap has been responsible for many problems of this nature being resolved. For your reassurance, it is widely accepted by the medical profession and is being widely used, along with oral appliances, by Hospitals, Sleep Clinics and Medical Centres throughout the world.

In essence, it is comfortable, lightweight, and highly adjustable so it will fit perfectly for any size. Most importantly it’s highly effective. By using it regularly, you will automatically adapt to taking your rest without opening your mouth. This product can provide a good night’s rest for you – and also your family. You may not need to use this device forever because once you get used to sleeping with your mouth closed and only breathing through your nose, you may not need to put it on anymore.

The expert’s verdict

Dr Tom McKay, consultant respiratory physician at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Sleep Centre, is sceptical of many of the treatments available today. ‘Nasal strips don’t work. Operations have very limited success rates’.

‘Sprays don’t have any great effect although nasal steroids have a small role if you’ve got nasal congestion. It can help if you lose weight or avoid alcohol last thing at night, or start to sleep lying on your side. Various forms of NHS recommended mouthpieces or chin straps are successful.’

The result is an excellent night’s sleep and no snoring.

John Redfern


Children • Snoring and some of the consequences

Most children snore occasionally and roughly 10% of them snore most nights. It occurs when they breathe in but there is a blockage of the air passing through the back of the mouth and it causes vibration of the throat tissues.

Three pupils in classroom, one of them sleeping

Sometimes snoring is a sign of a respiratory infection, a stuffy nose or allergy but at other times it may be a bigger problem.

Amongst the contributing factors to snoring may be obesity, allergies, asthma, reflux disorder, or even an abnormality in the structure of the jaw. In children, the most common problem associated with snoring is large tonsils. Young children’s tonsils are quite large in comparison to the throat, peaking at 5-7 years of age. These block the airway, making it difficult to breathe.

As many as 3% of children not only snore, but also suffer from breathing problems during their sleep. When snoring is accompanied by gasps or pauses in breathing, the child may have OSA – obstructive sleep apnoea.

Children’s muscles normally relax during sleep and can become so relaxed that the airway is narrowed and sufficient air cannot pass through causing a pause in breathing that can last a few seconds or as long as a minute. The brain is then alerted and signals the body to start breathing again. This results in the child gasping or snorting, waking up and starting to breathe again. Because of these repeated interruptions, the child may not get enough quality sleep and is likely to be sleepy or overtired during the day.

Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnoea may contribute to daytime sleepiness and behavioural problems including difficulties at school. In one recent study, children who snored loudly were twice as likely to have learning problems. Following a night of poor sleep, children are also more likely to be hyperactive and have difficulty paying attention. These are also signs of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sleep apnoea may also be associated with delayed growth and cardiovascular problems.

During the night, children with sleep apnoea may:

  • Snore loudly and on a regular basis
  • Have pauses, gasps, and snorts and actually stop breathing.  The snorts or gasps may waken them and disrupt their sleep.
  • Be restless or sleep in abnormal positions
  • Sweat heavily during sleep

During the day, children with sleep apnoea may:

  • Have behavioural, school and social problems
  • Be difficult to wake up
  • Have headaches during the day, but especially in the morning
  • Be irritable, agitated, aggressive, and difficult
  • Be so sleepy during the day that they fall asleep or daydream

The problem is the same throughout the developed world where accurate figures are available. According to US Government Health Statistics, over quarter of a million children in the U.S.A. have tonsillectomies each year and sleep apnoea is one of the major reasons for this.

In Australia, extensive work has been done by The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, where there is a specialist children’s Sleep Unit. The problem is growing, mostly due to increased obesity, and they currently estimate that about 20 Australian children in every 100 will snore. OSA is less common and runs to about two to three children in every 100.

They state that children who have had surgery to remove their tonsils and adenoids may still need to return to the Sleep Unit afterwards. Most of the children will be cured by the surgery, but a few may still snore or have difficulty breathing when they are asleep.

A home sleep study run by Monash Health’s Melbourne’s Children’s Sleep Centre, is also testing whether children with simple snoring – but are not severe enough to have their tonsils or adenoids removed – have the potential to learn, but this is disrupted due to tiredness.

The figures in the UK are much higher, with 80% of 5 year olds now classed as overweight, which will often mean that they will be overweight as teens and adults too. As a result, it has been recommended that GP’s send them on lifestyle and weight management programmes run by local authorities.

Family members and Carers will also be encouraged to attend regardless of their own weight, as they have an important role and responsibility in influencing the environment in which children and young people live.

John Redfern