One in three people born in the UK in 2015 could get dementia

One in three people born in the UK this year will suffer from some form of dementia in their lifetime, the Alzheimer’s Research UK charity has warned.

Senior man in failing health and his worried middle-aged son. Focus on Senior man.

The figures, which have been released by the charity this week on World Alzheimer’s Day, suggest the condition will affect 27% of boys born in 2015 and a much higher figure for women with it affecting as many 37% of girls.

With no treatment to stop or slow dementia, the charity has warned of a “looming national health crisis” as the population ages, and is renewing its call for more urgent action to tackle the illness. The figures are based on current life expectancies and the risk of people developing dementia as they age.

More than 800,000 people in the country are already affected by the disease, which is caused by the destruction of brain cells – usually attributed to lack of oxygen in recent research – often due to heavy snoring and the even more dangerous sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnoea – OSA.

Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia and rising life expectancies could increase the number of people living with the condition. Heart disease, diabetes, smoking and a lack of exercise are also linked to the condition and again often linked by research to snoring – the alarm bell for the development for these dangerous and life-threatening conditions.

The charity commissioned the Office of Health Economics to make the projections.

It predicted that:

  • 32% of people born in the UK in 2015 will get dementia in their lifetime
  • 27% of men would get the condition
  • 37% of women would be affected

Dr Matthew Norton, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “These figures underline a stark reality – as people are living longer, more and more people will develop dementia in the future if action is not taken now to tackle the condition.

“It’s wonderful news that each generation is living longer than the last, but it’s important to ensure that people can enjoy these extra years in good health.

“Dementia is our greatest medical challenge and if we are to beat it, we must invest in research to find new treatments and preventions.”

Treating snoring has been proved recently to delay the onset of both Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia by between five and ten years, and is dependent on how early preventative steps are taken. This would reduce the total number of people suffering at any one time by approximately one-third and make a huge saving on NHS costs, as well as easing the difficult burden for family dependents that often do the home caring.

Thanks to research conducted at UCLA over the past 12 years, experts have known that the gasping during the night that characterizes obstructive sleep apnoea can damage the brain in ways that lead to high blood pressure, depression, memory loss and anxiety. It also can cause extreme daytime sleepiness, thanks to the constant night-time interruptions, and can lead to stroke, diabetes, and loss of testosterone and endocrine-related problems.

The damage to the brain stems in part from the reduction of oxygen to the body, as a result of the repeated breathing interruptions.

This can be stopped in most cases by the use of a simple oral appliance or mouthpiece – some of which are now approved and recommended by the NHS – and even given to patients. They are effective, work fast, are easy and comfortable to wear, and cost little – but save a lot.

John Redfern

 

 


Most people are now living much longer – but will you be one of them?

There are new worrying figures that expose England’s north-south health divide and they also show that it is getting worse. So who in England lives longest and where are they? More importantly perhaps – Why?

The life expectancy for people living in England has risen by 5.4 years since 1990, with the average person now expected to live until more than 80 years of age. But some areas do far better than others.

Map - Regions

A study carried out by Public Health England (PHE) found life expectancy rose from 75.9 years to 81.3 years between 1990 and 2013. The gains were greater for men than women, with men expected to live an extra 6.4 years compared to 25 years ago but women still generally live longer, with the figures showing an average life expectancy for women of 83.2 years compared to 79.5 years for men.

There are still vast inequalities between rich and poor areas. While the wealthiest 20 %of men in the East of England can expect to live to 83.1 years, and women 86.4, the most deprived 20 %of men in the North West have an average life expectancy of just 74.9, with women at 79.5 years.

The increase has been ascribed to a slowdown in the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease over the last two decades, but while life expectancy has grown for the general population, large inequalities still remain for people living in more deprived areas.

The study found that despite having the same health and social care system as the rest of the country, regions such as the North East and North West are ranked among the worst performing regions for life expectancy.

The study, which was published in The Lancet, shows that obesity, poor diet and smoking are the biggest risks for premature death among people in England. If you snore – it could be a sign of things to come unless you change things and do something about it quickly.

Public Health England spokesman, Professor John Newton described the wide-ranging causes of inequality as “deep-rooted and persistent and lie largely outside the he healthcare system”. “Preventatives services which already exist do help,” he added.

The new figures, published in The Lancet, show that if the healthiest region of England, the south-east, were a country it would top a league of 22 industrialised nations for its health outcomes. But if the North West were a country, it would be in the bottom five.

Although the study only looked at England, older data for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also places them among the worst performing countries. England has achieved significant gains in life expectancy, which has increased by 5.4 years between 1990 and 2013 – mostly driven by declines in deaths from heart disease and some cancers. The gains made by the country as a whole are greater than for most other wealthy countries.

But while we are living longer, there has been barely any decline in rates of illness and disability. The highest rates of the biggest killers – including heart disease and lung cancer – are found in the most deprived areas – driven by higher rates of common risk factors such as smoking and unhealthy drinking.

Across the board, the researchers estimate, 40 per cent of ill health in England is caused by preventable risk factors. Unhealthy diets and obesity are the biggest causes of illness – accounting for about a fifth. Smoking causes 10.8 per cent of disease, high blood pressure 7.8 per cent and alcohol and drug use 5.8 per cent.

If you snore you need to take the first step and prevent these illnesses from developing – or suffer the inevitable consequences.

John Redfern


Snoring, disturbed sleep, and the effect on your everyday health

If you’ve ever been woken by your partner’s deafening snoring tones or struggled to slink into slumber because of the noise coming from your bedside partner, then you’re not alone!

Flu. Closeup image of frustrated sick woman with red nose lying in bed in thick scarf holding tissue by her nose and touching her head

Snoring is one of the most common partner disturbances when it comes to sleep and what starts off as a niggle can soon become very annoying especially when you’re trying your best to get off to the land of nod.

I mentioned in last week’s article the latest newspaper report about the rise of the snoring room for the wealthy property buyer – basically a separate bedroom to banish your snoring partner to – but it’s not new. People have been sleeping apart due to someone snoring for a very long time.

However, disrupted sleep can leave many couples short tempered with each other leading to rows and squabbles, and even to divorce in extreme cases. So if snoring is a real issue then a snoring room, or what us ordinary folk call a separate bedroom, can be no bad thing!

Over recent years there’s been lots of research into how many couples now sleep apart and how beneficial – or not beneficial – it is for your sleep.  And there is a large number of us who do sleep in separate bedrooms – for many reasons whether that’s snoring, health or just personal space.

Women suffer more than men do. A large research study found that 31% of women, and 19% of men, are disturbed by snoring, with many saying that they think their sleep would improve quite significantly if their partner didn’t snore. Yet in the same research, 78% did report they shared a bed.

It’s well known that severe cases of snoring, and particularly sleep apnoea, have made a very detrimental contribution to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and even cancer.

Snoring and disturbed sleep can affect you much more than just making you tired and irritable, and falling asleep or taking daytime naps. Professor Francesco Cappuccio and his team at The University of Warwick have explored what daily napping says about our health. The team studied the daytime napping habits of more than 16,000 men and women in the UK and found daily napping, of both under and more than one hour — to be a warning sign of underlying health risk — particularly respiratory problems.

The team believes that the risks associated with those prolonged or extra hours asleep may extend beyond heart conditions to represent warning signs of depression, infection, inflammatory conditions and, in some, the early stages of cancer.

“It doesn’t mean that longer sleep causes these diseases,” says Cappuccio. Instead, the fatigue from sleep disturbed by snoring that is keeping people in bed excessively is a symptom of something going wrong. “It’s a consequence of the disease, not the cause,” he says.

Cutting out snoring and sleeping better is the key to good health for all of us.

However it appears that snoring and disturbed sleep can affect you much more than just making you tired and irritable – it affects simple everyday health. We now have new medical findings that it affects our health in significant, but lesser ways – illnesses that are very common and that we accept as part of everyday life.

Scientists now say they have found proof that failing to get enough sleep can greatly increase your risk of catching a cold. The US researchers found that people who sleep 6 hours a night or less are at least 4 times more likely to catch a cold when exposed to the virus, compared to those who sleep for more than 7 hours.

Writing in the journal, Sleep, the team members say their findings prove just how vital it is to have undisturbed regular sleep to stay healthy.

It’s not rocket science so don’t ignore this sound advice – Stop Snoring now.

John Redfern


Snoring is much more of a problem in some parts of the UK than others

A new nationwide poll conducted with home-owning couples last month has revealed some major regional differences in how partners deal with the issue of snoring, and how they resolve it as a problem. Everyone sleeps in a slightly different way, and this can be due to a very wide range of factors including their different habits when they turn in for the night. Some of the more interesting regional results are as follows.

Flags of the United Kingdom of Great Britain - England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Union Flag.

The highest percentage of snoring that causes family rifts is in Northern Ireland and is at over 60%, closely followed by the North West and North East of England, with Wales following at 44%, whilst other areas rank lower.

The average amount of sleep an adult gets in the UK is 7 hours and 10 minutes, but the people who live in the hustle and bustle of London get the least sleep for one reason or another, which may not come as a huge surprise. They only get 6 hours 25 minutes sleep per night and that is exactly an hour less than someone who lives in the North East. It may not seem much but across a week it’s a difference of a complete night’s sleep.

People from Northern Ireland get 7 hours 8 minutes sleep on average but say that are very unhappy about it, Nearly two-thirds would like more. One of the biggest disruptions to their night is snoring, and well over 60% confessed to having major arguments about this – the highest figure of any region in the United Kingdom.

Although people in the North East sleep longer than those in any other region, only 41% are happy about that amount and feel that they don’t get enough sleep. They are obviously hardy as even though it’s colder than many parts of the country they are the ones most likely to sleep naked.

In contrast, those in Northern Ireland are most likely to sleep wearing pyjamas, whereas Londoners tend to prefer some form of underwear as their night-time attire of choice.

These two areas differ greatly in other ways too. Working and living in a big city such as London can often leave you a bit grubby by the time that bedtime rolls around, and this may be why Londoners are the ‘cleanest sleepers’ in the UK, with 65% washing, bathing or showering every evening before they hit the sack. This is quite different to Northern Ireland, as only 23% admit to never washing before going to bed, presumably because they favour the morning bath or shower.

Maybe it’s something in the water but when it comes to night time intimacy, Yorkshire and Humberside leads the way. Over 15% confessed to being intimate with their partner before they go to sleep with other areas having lower figures. The other end of the scale reveals figures of less than 7% in Scotland and an even lower 5% in Northern Ireland.

Other activities vary greatly too. Those in the South East prefer to read before turning the light out with the highest figure of over 42% for this. Reading and watching television are by far the most popular pre-sleep activities and both have a 37% average, but in the East Midlands less than 24% said that they watch TV before turning in.

The data recorded even measured how often people hit the snooze button on their alarm with Londoners doing it most at a figure that is 47% higher than anywhere else. East Anglians proved to be the sprightliest in the morning and they hit the snooze button far less than anyone else.

The biggest disturbances to sleep came from snoring – often a serious problem. Sleeping in the same bed as your partner however may be going out of fashion with new research suggesting that now one in six British couples choose to sleep in separate bedrooms. The emergence of ‘his and her’ rooms appears to be growing because of the increase in snoring and many people are quite happy sleeping in their own separate room. Dubbed the ‘second master suite’ or the ‘snoring room’, the extra bedroom has now started to become a common feature in many houses.

Stephen Lindsay, head of Savills estate agency in London, told the Sunday Times that the idea of separate rooms appealed greatly to many clients, particularly those from abroad. ‘They are amused by the English humour of the snoring room, but also attracted to the flexibility it allows’. He added: ‘Often called a second master or guest suite, developers are increasingly adding snoring rooms to new properties to meet this buyer appetite.’

Of course, it would be much cheaper for them to stop snoring by using a simple oral appliance, and definitely much friendlier and more sociable.

John Redfern