The latest research shows many women suffer in silence

Nearly HALF of women are constantly exhausted – and it could be due to a serious medical condition, experts warn in an article based on new UK Government research that was published this week.

Women have sleeping problems but suffer in silence

The YouGov survey of 4,100 British adults found that 46 per cent of women have trouble sleeping, compared with 36 per cent of men.

  • The study found that nearly half of women are sleep deprived but suffer in silence – only one in four tell their doctor.
  • Lack of sleep could be caused by obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) – a sleep disorder that causes snoring and highly dangerous pauses in breathing – but often goes undiagnosed.
  • Poor sleep also increases risk of type 2 diabetes for middle-aged women and other new research confirms this.
  • Women are also more likely to wake during the night, with 36 per cent of women reporting this problem compared with 23 per cent of men.
  • Six in ten women said they become irritable during the day because of lack of sleep, while less than half of men do.

Many women do not seek medical advice because they believe it is merely a side effect of growing older. Experts however warn that not getting enough sleep can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition, although pregnancy or the menopause can often be a factor too.

Sleep is known to be a particular problem for women as they approach the menopause.  Changes in hormone levels can lead to hot flushes, night sweats and mood changes – each of making sleeping harder. Pregnancy and the menopause increase a woman’s risk of suffering from OSA.

Professor John Stradling, a sleep expert at Oxford University, said: ‘Often women think that feeling exhausted is just part of modern life when in fact it could be something more serious. Remaining untreated leaves women at risk of reduced quality of life and serious health conditions.’

He added: ‘Many women are not aware that they may have sleep apnoea, meaning that they are missing out on the medical advice or treatment that they need. The sooner their sleep issues are addressed by a sleep expert, the better.’

Bill Johnston, chairman of the Sleep Apnoea Trust Association, which commissioned the survey, said it was easy to blame poor sleep on a change in the seasons, especially in winter. ‘For many it is, but for others, sleep issues could be a sign of sleep apnoea,’ he said.

‘The overall lack of awareness around sleep apnoea symptoms and its impact on a person’s health may mean that many are suffering in silence so it is important that we work with healthcare professionals to uncover this missing group and help minimise the impact of sleep problems on their lives.

An estimated 1.9 million women in Britain are thought to be going through the menopause at any one time. Some 80 per cent of these women are thought to experience symptoms, which typically last for about four years.  For about one in ten, however, symptoms last much longer, in some cases continuing for 12 years.

If left untreated it could lead to more serious health problems such as stroke or heart attack. Some 1.5 million adults in Britain are thought to suffer with sleep apnoea, but do nothing although treatment is simple and inexpensive. As well as snoring and insomnia, symptoms include restless legs, fatigue, depression, headaches and muscle pain.

No woman likes to think that she snores, because of the stigma that is attached to it, but at the end of the day the statistics show that women who snore account for 40% of all snorers.

A range of high quality approved mouthpieces that help to prevent serious health problems caused by heavy snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea is now available. These are 98% effective in tests, NHS Approved, comfortable, unobtrusive, and bring a great night’s sleep.

SleepPro Woman has been specially produced for this group and is the ideal starter mouthpiece. If symptoms continue or are accompanied by gasping for breath in the night they should consider a custom-fitted appliance called SleepPro Custom – the NHS No. 1 recommendation for both snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Acting now and investing in a mouthpiece that will stop your snoring could improve your day beyond recognition, and maybe even save your life.

John Redfern


New Health Crisis – time to Stop Snoring and control OSA It will reduce blood pressure problems and prevent Diabetes

Poor diabetes care in England is leading to avoidable deaths, record rates of complications and huge costs to the NHS, which although spending 10% of its budget on diabetes, most goes on managing complications not preventing them. However this is a worldwide problem and not one to be found just in Britain.

Diabetes in the Press

Snoring raises blood pressure and causes diabetes

Despite constant campaigning, it is only now being strongly recommended that Governments and Health Services act to curb a huge health crisis related to all these inter-related factors. However these facts are not new and were published as headlines well over a year ago – and there were other strong indicators before that.

Research has shown that disturbed sleep contributes to overeating and weight gain, which raises blood pressure, which causes diabetes, and that oxygen deprivation can also cause the onset of raised blood pressure and Diabetes. Anyone with night-time breathing issues like snoring or sleep apnea often has high blood sugar and is almost twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study of 6,000 US adults.

Recent figures show that the number of adults in England with diabetes has risen to more than 3 million, and was going up by almost 5% every year. Diabetes UK says the disease is the fastest growing health threat of our times and current care models are not working to get on top of the problem.

The number of people with diabetes is increasing, as is the number of patients who develop complications.

People with sleep apnea were nearly twice as likely as normal sleepers to develop diabetes, and snorers were 27 per cent more likely. Those with daytime sleepiness were also about 50 per cent more likely than those without that symptom to develop diabetes.

The research clearly showed that the more disturbed-breathing symptoms people had during sleep, the greater their diabetes risk. Snoring is a main contributor to many health problems and is at the core of them all. Research has constantly proved it.

MPs have criticised the Department of Health and the NHS in England for being “too slow” to act in preventing and treating diabetes.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee says variations in the care of both type 1 and 2 diabetes mean the annual cost to the health service will continue to rise and not only is the number of people with diabetes increasing, but also the number of patients who develop complications.

For people aged 16 and over the bill currently stands at £5.5bn a year. Most of the £5.5bn-a-year cost is spent on complications from diabetes, such as heart and kidney disease, blindness and nerve damage, leading to amputations. All these things can be reduced by catching the disease early, and managing blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, and also by preventing snoring.

It isn’t difficult to understand that depriving the brain of a continuous oxygen supply is highly dangerous and can eventually be fatal. Constant research studies at leading hospitals and Universities throughout the world prove the links time and time again, but little is done. We still fail to act – and that includes National Governments, their Health Ministries, and also ourselves.

It is well known that in all countries that most known cases of heavy snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) remain ignored and untreated, although some are better documented than others. Not only that, but treatment is no longer complicated – in fact it’s simple and can be self-administered in an easy, inexpensive way – and without prescription.

All developed nations have now approved the stop snoring mouthpiece as the best way to tackle and prevent both heavy snoring, and mild to moderate OSA, but if Governments don’t act soon then the crisis will develop even more.

For a small cost you can protect yourself from all these problems. You now have to ask yourself what is the value of your good health, and maybe even your life. It’s time for you to do something about it – either for yourself, for your partner, or for both of you.

John Redfern


Obstructive sleep apnoea linked to increased risk of stroke and cancer

Many recent medical studies conducted worldwide, and connected with sleep, have reached very similar conclusions; that regularly disturbed or ‘fragmented’ sleep puts people at greater risk of stroke, impaired thinking and memory, and even cancer.

Apnoea and stroke a concern

This is particularly so in those over 60 where those who had fragmented sleep were more likely to have hardened blood vessels, or oxygen starved tissue in the brain. This has been proved to increase the risk of developing arteriosclerosis, a potentially serious condition where the arteries become clogged up by fatty substances known as plaques.

Results showed that amongst the many hundreds of individuals monitored, that 29% had already experienced a stroke, and 61% had signs of moderate to severe damage to blood vessels in the brain.

Researchers found that greater sleep fragmentation was associated with 27 per cent higher odds of having severe arteriosclerosis. Moreover, for each additional two arousals during one hour of sleep, researchers reported a 30 per cent increase in the odds that subjects had visible signs of oxygen deprivation in their brain.Stroke

A primary cause of disturbed sleep is obstructive sleep apnoea, usually called OSA, where the individual suffers from disturbed sleep, but often do not realize that they’re waking many times, and even gasping for breath. Mild to moderate OSA is very common, and often ignored and untreated. Severe OSA is critical for those who are suffering and must be treated.

One of the main studies was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine – a long study that was carried out over a twenty year period.

Results of the study show that people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnoea were four times more likely to die early, nearly four times more likely to have a stroke, three times more likely to die from cancer, and 2.5 times more likely to develop cancer. These figures are after the results were adjusted for potential confounding factors such as body mass index, smoking status, total cholesterol and blood pressure.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is dangerous and needs urgent treatment.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) comments extensively on this and recommends key areas of treatment that will help manage the symptoms of OSA and which may occasionally correct the problem.  This includes lifestyle changes but they add that often, additional treatment beyond lifestyle changes is needed for moderate to severe OSA.

Mild to moderate sleep apnoea can be treated by simply using a mandibular adjustment device – often called a splint, oral appliance, or simply a mouthpiece. These are recommended strongly by the BLF. This device, also called an oral device, is worn over your teeth as you sleep. It brings your lower jaw forward, helping to keep your airway open. This treatment can be used without prescription if you have mild to moderate OSA and will help to control it, perhaps even correcting any harm that has been done previously.

The BLF also discuss surgery and CPAP treatment for extremely severe cases, but this can be avoided if a specially made, highly efficient mouthpiece is worn early enough.

Papworth Hospital is a major heart and lung hospital in Cambridgeshire, England. It is the UK’s largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital, and the country’s main heart and lung transplant centre, and was home to the first successful heart transplant in the UK and one of the world’s first beating-heart transplants. As a result of their extensive research into the success of custom-made oral appliances, they made two key recommendations in 2014 that were published in The Lancet:stroke

  • SleepPro Custom should be offered as first line treatment for mild OSA and any form of snoring
  • SleepPro Custom should be offered as an alternative to CPAP for the treatment of moderate OSA

Other NHS approved appliances are available for snoring at any level.
The details of these studies are available to read on the SleepPro website

Contact [email protected] for further information

John Redfern


New evidence on why snoring can be dangerous for your health

A new study suggests that although your snoring may sound like a car revving, it could indicate that the cells in your veins are breaking down.Snoring and sleep Apnea

Scientists have long known that obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that often causes snoring, can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases, but they didn’t know exactly why. Now, a team of doctors at Columbia University has pinpointed a defined chain of events that explains how this damage might occur, and found that some commonly prescribed anti-cholesterol drugs may help to prevent it. 

The research team at Columbia wanted to figure out how it was that interrupted breathing was affecting the cells that line blood vessels, which is often where cardiovascular damage begins. They extracted these cells from the arms of 76 patients with obstructive sleep apnea and a further 52 others who didn’t have the sleep disorder.

They found that those with sleep apnea had a much higher level of a protein called CD59. This butterfly-shaped protein guards cells from attack by the body’s own immune system. However, on closer inspection, the researchers discovered that the CD59 of people with sleep apnea had been pulled inside the cell, instead of guarding the cell’s surface, leaving the cell vulnerable to attacks from the immune system. 

These damaged cells, in turn, would be more likely to obstruct blood flow — the first such cellular explanation of how obstructive sleep apnea may cause so many serious heart problems.

But one group of snorers didn’t have these abnormal CD59 effects. Five of the sleep apnea patients who happened to be taking statins – drugs that lower cholesterol – had cells that looked just as healthy as the cells of people without sleep apnea. That suggests that statins could help protect apnea patients from cardiovascular trouble.

“This is a great start to try to understand the damage that sleep apnea does, particularly when left untreated as is so very often the case” said Dr. Shalini Paruthi, a sleep medicine expert at Saint Louis University.

Paruthi added that this damage to blood vessels is just one of the risks posed by sleep apnea.  “We often run into the myth that snoring’s OK,” she said. “But it’s not OK. It might be the sign of something very dangerous.”

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as memory and thinking trouble.

Another new study states that more half of those diagnosed with sleep apnea fail to stick with the standard treatment for the condition, which traditionally has been the CPAP mask, and most people aren’t given additional options, even when they can’t tolerate the treatment.

Obstructive sleep apnea probably affects between 5% and 7% of the U.S. population, the researchers said. The condition is usually diagnosed during a sleep study that measures how many times someone stops breathing (apnea) or has shallow breathing with a drop in blood oxygen (hypopnea) for at least 10 seconds during each hour of sleep.

The study authors reviewed the medical records of just over 600 people. All of them had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and were immediately prescribed CPAP but just 42% began using it regularly as directed. Only about a third of those remaining, who weren’t using CPAP, were referred for an alternative to help them manage their sleep apnea.

Dr. Michael Thorpy, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said this reflects the difficulty of having patients use CPAP. “It is not an easy treatment for a lot of patients to sleep with a machine at night, and it requires some work and effort to get patients to become compliant,” he said.

Respiratory therapists or other providers can help patients with alternatives if a patient is having trouble with CPAP, said study author Dr. Alan Kominsky, Assistant Professor of Surgery at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “For some, CPAP is the only appropriate treatment, but others may have additional options, including dental devices or surgery”, Kominsky said.

Oral devices are by far the best for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea/snoring, and will prevent and control this dangerous condition”.

 

John Redfern


Poor Quality Sleep is costing Business time and money

Employees’ sleep problems are probably costing British business a great deal of time and money as poor-quality sleep can affect workers’ mood and judgment and it can also result in serious health problems. Ask yourself if you lost a day or two of work last year because of poor-quality sleep the night before? If that’s the case you’re far from alone, according to new results from the World Sleep Survey.

Tired office worker suffering from poor quality sleep

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford found that full-time employees lose an average of seven days of work per year due to poor-quality sleep and those who report that their sleep is of “less than average” quality lose more than 13 days. More than 20,000 people participated in the survey. The financial cost of that to the UK is huge.

Earlier research from 2011 prompted employers to take a closer look at sleep. Researchers from Harvard University had interviewed more than 7,000 people by phone, and found that insomnia/poor quality sleep results in the loss of 11 days of work per year. As a nation, that represented a total loss of $63.2 billion.

Poor-quality sleep can result can affect mood and judgment, and result in serious health problems. In the USA, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared insufficient sleep a “public health epidemic,” with some 18 million people in the U.S. reporting that sleep troubles impacted their job performance.

Sleep experts are not surprised that exhausted employees are skipping work. When you don’t sleep well, you’ll experience a serious degree of cognitive impairment. Some people simply don’t allot enough time for a good night’s rest; others aren’t able to sleep well due to medical conditions, like insomnia or sleep apnoea.

For those who have persistent sleep troubles, it is recommended that they either pay a visit to a doctor or if they persistently snore heavily, or at least try using an oral appliance to reduce the problem and prevent it. Some 72% of those who participated in the World Sleep Survey said they had not consulted a physician about their sleep troubles.

People who average less than seven hours sleep per night are at increased risk of problems, such as high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. This occurs even in people who don’t feel tired during the day. Others may have sleep apnoea but be totally unaware although their partner may realise by identifying the symptoms of heavy snoring, appearing to wake often throughout the night and gasping for breath.

Figures published by the AA attribute as many as 20% of accidents, many involving death, to poor quality sleep by a driver who then dozes at the wheel.

It is now more widely accepted as a major problem and some companies are trying to help their employees become more aware of the difficulties it causes. Historically, employer wellness programs have focused on fitness and healthy eating. But that’s now beginning to change.

Some companies are developing programs to assess and treat employees with sleep apnoea, a common disorder that disrupts sleep and often goes undiagnosed. More than 5% of UK male adults have sleep apnoea and there are lower but increasing figures for women, often due to weight gain. The real figures may be even higher as most cases are undiagnosed.

Large US companies, like Google and Goldman Sachs, have brought in sleep experts to disseminate information about sleep disorders. Johnson & Johnson offers its employees a digital coaching program that is designed to reduce insomnia, and involves relaxation videos. Corporate wellness companies even offer coaches to teach employees about healthy habits for getting a good night’s rest.

One of the key recommendations for improving sleep by stopping heavy snoring, and controlling sleep apnoea, is by the use of a medically approved mouthpiece that is worn at night, and is much like a sports gumshield that we are all familiar with. In this case it protects in a different way by moving the jaw forward slightly, and in doing so it keeps the throat open so that breathing continues normally. Results from the specialist NHS sleep researchers at Papworth Hospital tested a selection of typical oral appliances, and based on the results recommended SleepPro Custom as the first mouthpiece to use to prevent snoring and control sleep apnoea.

The subsequent result of using these simple and inexpensive oral appliances will improve worker efficiency and safety in many ways, as well as improving their attendance record, and benefit their general well-being both in the long and the short term.

 

John Redfern