Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Increases Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death

In a recently published study, the sleeping habits of 10,701 people were studied for 5.3 years to see if there were any incidences of sudden cardiac deaths. Most of the over millions people who suffer from this disorder are undiagnosed.

During the course of the study, 142 participants died of sudden cardiac death. Most of these participants were aged 60 years and above, and had 20 or more apnoea episodes per hour of sleep. They also had oxygen saturation below 78 per cent during sleep.

Researchers of the study found that the risk of sudden death increases by double for people with sleep apnoea.

The authors of the study released a press report wherein they stated that when people breath properly during their sleep; their oxygen saturation level is 100 per cent. If due to improper breathing while sleeping, this oxygen saturation level goes below 78 per cent, the risk of sudden cardiac death increases significantly. They also revealed that people with sleep apnoea usually die from sudden cardiac arrests between midnight and six-o-clock in the morning while people without sleep apnoea mostly die of sudden cardiac arrests between six-o-clock in the morning and noon.

Sleep apnoea has also been linked with other cardiovascular conditions like high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, and atrial fibrillation. In its most severe form it can be treated by losing weight, implementing sleep posture changes and using devices that deliver air pressure through a mask placed over the nose while a person sleeps.

Latterly, due to the severe dislike of these breathing masks and machines, many specialists have been recommending the more readily acceptable oral mouthpiece as a useful solution – they are easier to use, instant, and highly affordable. The recommendation though is for the custom version as opposed to the off the shelf version.

Sleep apnoea is a sleeping disorder that can affect anyone. Recently it has received much attention. Nonetheless many people who have sleep apnoea have yet to have the “who me” moment. The reason the moment is so elusive for so many is that they don’t have a strong feeling that they have any problems sleeping. In some ways it’s like high blood pressure. You can have a serious problem, but be completely unaware of it until you have your blood pressure checked.

Who are most often affected by sleep apnoea?

People with sleep apnoea are most likely to be: men, overweight, over 60 years, those who consume alcohol or take sleep medicines, smoke, or have chronic rhinitis. Of course having combinations just makes it more likely.

Sleep apnoea is a sleeping disorder that can affect anyone. Recently it has received much attention. Nonetheless many people who have sleep apnoea have yet to have the “who me” moment. The reason the moment is so elusive for so many is that they don’t have a strong feeling that they have any problems sleeping. In some ways it’s like high blood pressure. You can have a serious problem, but be completely unaware of it until you have your blood pressure checked. By the way, when WAS the last time you checked your blood pressure?

In most cases, except for the tell-tale symptoms, which I will mention momentarily, the only way you might know you have sleep apnoea is if someone has complained that you snore like a Saturn 5. In many cases the person sleeps through the apnoea event without waking up or sensing that anything is out of the ordinary.

How can I tell if I have sleep apnoea?

There are two types of sleep apnoea, obstructive and central but the most common by far is obstructive.

The most common symptom is daytime sleepiness. As humans, we have very complex sleep cycles, and these cycles must run uninterrupted for you to be fully rested and refreshed. Sleep apnoea interrupts these cycles everywhere from 5 to 30 times per hour, which can turn 7 hours of sleep into just 1 or 2 hours of effective sleep, and this makes you feel tired and sleepy while you’re awake.

The next most likely symptom, aside from someone telling you that you snore horribly, is waking up with a dry mouth or slightly sore throat. This symptom indicates you were breathing through your mouth most of the night.

What causes obstructive sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea occurs most often when a person is sleeping on their back. It occurs because when you are in that position, and as the muscles of the throat relax, the passageway for airflow begins to collapse. The diaphragm continues to contract but there is no airflow into the lungs. During exhalation what air is in the lungs is exhaled normally and during the next inhalation the collapse happens again. Eventually, a shortage of oxygen causes you to move slightly or turn your head, the muscle tone of the throat returns briefly and you breathe normally for several breaths. Then it happens all over again.

Through slight adjustment of your jaw, the mouthpiece mentioned previously helps to keep your airways open during sleep and prevents the apnoea.

Is it really a big deal?

YES Number 1

A study published on June 11, 2013, in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, found that in people (mean age = 53 years) with severe sleep apnoea, i.e. occurring more than 20 times per hour, there was a 60% increase in the risk of sudden cardiac death during sleep. In people with more than 20 episodes per hour, there was an 81% increase in risk, compared to those without apnoea.

YES Number 2

In a presentation given at the May, 2013 American Thoracic Society 2013 International Conference, a link was established between sleep apnoea and Alzheimer’s disease. It was noted that Alzheimer’s disease improved once treatment for sleep apnoea began and it may be that treatment for sleep apnoea might evolve into a form of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

YES Number 3

Sleep apnoea has also been associated with increased risk for hypertension, diabetes, and liver dysfunction.
So spread the word. Sleep apnoea, although it is destructive to your health, should not be neglected because it is very easily treatable.

By John Redfern


What causes snoring? The Daily Mail tries to find the answer and the solution.

Perhaps you’re reading this after suffering yet another night of disturbed sleep thanks to snoring. It is estimated that between a third and a half of the UK population snores – perhaps even as many as 30 million people.The noise we associate with the problem is generated by vibration, as air rushes past the slack tissues in the mouth, nose or throat.

Although the Daily Mail only evaluated 6 snorers in total for this lead article in the newspaper, it was done extremely thoroughly and it has produced some interesting conclusions and recommendations.

The project was carried out on their behalf by a leading authority, Dr Guy Leschziner, who is currently a sleep physician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, and also at London Bridge Hospital Sleep Centre.

“The classic image of the snorer is the overweight older man, but it affects everyone, Snoring is viewed as a bit of a joke – but for many people it can have a major impact on their health, as well as causing marital strife, It can also induce real anxiety in single people because they worry their snoring will put new partners off.”

“The problem is many people don’t really know what provokes their snoring.”

He goes on to describe all the possible key triggers that may be instrumental in someone snoring heavily, and there are many – including a thick neck with extra fat, sleeping on your back, a deviated septum, an allergy or cold, and numerous lifestyle factors such as alcohol, sleeping pills and obesity.

He emphasises how serious the health consequences of snoring can be, and how important it is to find the appropriate treatment for each individual – and proceeds to evaluate 6 persistent snorers as an example of this.

The six persistent snorers were put through a ‘snoring MOT’ to establish the cause — this included a nasal endoscopy, where a flexible tube with a camera is inserted through the nostril, and a sleep apnoea test to measure how many times they stop breathing in an hour. A score of 10 is classified as sleep apnoea.Candidates were also assessed for daytime sleepiness.

Dr Leschziner and Miss Elfy Chevretton, an ear, nose and throat consultant, analysed the results, giving a fascinating insight into this universal problem.

Each of the named participants had their lifestyle and problem examined in detail, right down to their height, weight, and resultant BMI – and an expert analysis was made for each one of them. This uncovered contributory problem areas such as narrowed nasal passages, a deviated septum, a broken nose, short oversized neck, large tonsils and even a cat allergy – all of which were major contributors to the problem of snoring in each case.

A suggested treatment followed that was based on their full case analysis and the recommendations varied according to each individual’s problem, including surgery in one case, where there had been a badly broken nose.

Some were advised to stop smoking, lose weight, or make other sensible lifestyle adjustments that were part causes to the condition.

Most of them had some level of sleep apnoea where the CPAP method is the usual recommendation but of course many individuals find this hard to maintain due to either claustrophobia, or one of the several side effects involved. Current opinion is that where CPAP is difficult for the sufferer to use then they should use a mouthpiece instead, as this is preferable as next option and will help the problem without the side effects. For some it was also suggested they should try a chin strap if that suited them better due to having an open mouth whilst sleeping.

In the case of sufferers who had jaw problems, for whatever reason, the mouthpiece was the first recommendation each time, and in one case, that of overbite, a custom device was suggested instead of surgery.

All the individuals had different problems and different causes but the recommendation was always the same – do something about it.

The key recommendation to all snorers was to stop ignoring the problem and to either take specialist advice, or get treatment in one form or another, or to do both.

It can, and will save lives – yours if you are the one who snores.

By John Redfern


Rugby Latest: The 2013 British & Irish Lions tour Australia – with Mouthpieces

Never has a Lions Squad been so well prepared for what can only be described as the toughest Tour destination possible – Australia.

Every day the BBC will focus on the detail of the Squad’s day with surprising content revealed on Day One. Getting up at 6.45am for the first training session of the day taking place in the portable cryotherapy chambers, which subject you to temperatures as low as Minus160C and speed up a player’s physical recovery, must be a bit of a shock to anyone who has not experienced it before.

The Team is thoroughly equipped in every way as you can imagine and the resultant baggage can apparently only be described as incredible.

Here’s a quote or two from Prop, Adam Jones, of Ospreys and Wales.

“The first day we met up in London we had to make sure we’d got all the right kit. There’s a hell of a lot: six sets of Adidas training kit, eight T-shirts, a couple of pairs of shorts and tracksuits, a jacket to wear to the stadium for the anthems, two Thomas Pink blazers, six shirts, two pairs of shoes, underwear, you name it. Just as well we don’t have to check all that in ourselves.”

Basically they had everything that they could possibly need in terms of both personal and support equipment – and I mean everything.

Adam continues “I was rooming with (England prop) Mako Vunipola during our first week down at the Vale of Glamorgan base we use with Wales, and I can confirm the rumours are true. He is a phenomenal snorer. I snore myself but I’m not a particularly deep sleeper so with Mako barely three feet away from me, the ear plugs were well and truly wedged in.”

It sounds like the hotel could be well and truly shaking….or maybe not.

“We left camp on Thursday and spent a few nights at home before returning to London on Sunday for a bit more training and then the farewell dinner. I had to make an emergency trip to the dentist while I was home. It was nothing to do with my teeth though. I lost my mouthpiece. I think I put it in my car after my last game for the Ospreys and it’s disappeared.”

So I had to get my mouth measured up to get a new one fitted, so they can send it out to me. A bit of a pain, but probably just as well, as I only had one spare, so I need some new ones”

He should have gone to SleepPro ….. who wish you guys Good Luck down under….and as a matter of fact, we have them now in Red, in White, and in Blue…. conveniently patriotic to mark the occasion.

By John Redfern


The Top Ten Problems linked to Snoring

Current research studies around the world emphatically link heavy snoring and sleep apnoea to a very long list of dangers to your personal health, as well as numerous other significant problems that can be caused for you both at work or at home.

Most people ignore snoring and it remains dangerously undiagnosed and untreated. If you snore, think about taking some steps to resolve it – it’s fast, inexpensive, and easy to do so.

1. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is significantly more likely to develop within patients suffering from sleep apnoea. Blood oxygen levels are lowered significantly during sleep apnoea periods and that creates an excess strain on the blood pressure and heart as it attempts to provide the oxygen required. The worse the sleep apnoea, the more likely someone is to develop hypertension.

2. Strokes and Heart attacks

The development of high blood pressure also increases the likelihood of developing further heart problems like strokes and heart attacks. It can even lead to sudden death from cardiovascular failure. The blood oxygen levels are lowered significantly during sleep apnoea periods. Sleep apnoea can also lead to other heart problems including abnormal heart rhythms like atrial fibrillation.

3. Cancer

Snorers who sleep more than nine hours a night are twice as likely to develop bowel cancer than snorers who get seven hours of sleep a night, according to new research. The study showed a significant link between long periods of sleep and the development of colorectal cancer, especially among people who are overweight or who snore. This is because people with sleep apnoea snore heavily and tend to sleep for longer, because their sleep is disrupted making them more tired.

4. Diabetes

It has been established for a number of years that very heavy snorers or those with sleep apnoea are nine times more likely to have diabetes than those who do not have the disorder. Treating the snoring and problem of lack of good sleep on a regular basis can often reduce blood glucose levels, which would obviously have clear benefits for those with diabetes.

5. Alzheimer’s disease

Sleep apnea, which robs sufferers of deep sleep by endlessly and subconsciously waking them up, becomes more common as people age. Now, a small new study raises the possibility that it may somehow cause — or be caused by — Alzheimer’s disease. The research is preliminary, and it’s possible that there may be no connection between the two conditions. Still, scientists found that seniors with signs of disrupted breathing during sleep were much more likely to have the key indicators of developing Alzheimer’s disease and underlining a link between sleep, aging and memory.

6. Chronic Headaches

A study reveals that people who have chronic daily headache are also likely to be chronic snorers. Chronic daily headache is defined as having at least 15 headaches a month (not necessarily every day), and is a distressing and disabling condition, which can be hard to treat. Researchers at the National Institute on Ageing, believe they have new insight into this condition. It’s not clear whether headaches cause snoring, or whether snoring leads to headache. If the latter turns out to be the case, then curing the snoring – which is perfectly feasible – might also cure the headache.

7. Tiredness, Irritability & Behavioural Problems

People who snore heavily and suffer from disturbed sleep patterns may experience tiredness throughout their whole day and that can lead to emotional issues like irritability. It can lead to focus problems too. Some people might even fall asleep while working – or even driving. Children who suffer may also have poor performance in school. Their typical development may be strained and it can also lead to major behavioural problems.

8. Dangerous Situations

When a person doesn’t get the correct amount of sleep at night their body will insist upon receiving sleep at some point. Excessive daytime sleepiness can lead to falling sleep while driving or operating machinery. People that are suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea, that is left severe and untreated, are 15 times more likely to get into a car crash. Until you are treated for your heavy snoring you need to be sure that it’s safe.#

9. Relationship issues

Loud snoring can disturb more than just the sleep of your partner. It is well known that relationship problems can occur and that loud snoring causes couples to often sleep apart. It is also the third highest cause of divorce. It can also cause irritability and mood swings – both at home and in your work relationships with your colleagues.

10. Asthma

Asthma, especially childhood asthma, may lead to sleep apnoea later on in life and is more common among asthmatics. However whether asthma promotes development of OSA remains unknown, according to recent studies. Some studies have suggested that people with asthma could be at an increased risk for sleep apnoea and that heavy snoring worsens asthma. For each 5-year increment in duration of asthma, research showed that the likelihood of a person developing OSA shows an increase of 12%.

By John Redfern


Important things that you may not know about Snoring

A long day spent at work or home with the kids can leave you desperately longing for a good night’s rest. For chronic snorers and their bedfellows, though, falling and staying asleep isn’t so simple. In fact, what could seem like a harmless annoyance can have surprising consequences that extend beyond bedtime. Luckily, sleep experts like SleepPro know what causes snoring and how to put an end to it.

Read on for the key facts on the connection of snoring to our everyday life – and how to get rid of it from yours.

1. It can complicate a couple’s relationship

That recent argument with your spouse could be a result of sleep deprivation from his or perhaps your snoring. The National Sleep Foundation found that more than one-third of respondents felt their partner’s sleep disorder caused relationship problems. “Severe snoring markedly disturbs the partner’s sleep, causing irritability, anger and depression.”

Talk to the guy keeping you awake at night. Calmly express concern not just for your wellbeing but also his. And if you’re the culprit, don’t write off your loved one’s worries.

2. It may signal other health problems

Do you or your hubby make loud gasping sounds while you sleep? It could be sleep apnoea, a disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly at night, which is connected to heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, especially when undiagnosed. Even without sleep apnoea, a snorer could have an elevated stroke risk, according to new research from the USA.

If you snore and experience daytime sleepiness and memory problems make sure that you see a doctor.

3. Being overweight has been tied to increased snoring

As you gain weight, the muscles inside your neck get thicker, narrowing the airway, As the airway closes, the tissues become more likely to vibrate against one another, causing that dreaded sound.

Shedding 10% of your body weight could drastically improve the situation, and losing just 10 pounds can really help you.

4. What you consume before bed can make snoring worse

Head home from happy hour at least four hours before you hit the hay. Alcohol relaxes the central nervous system, forcing our bodies to work harder to breathe during sleep. When all the tissue and muscle around a throat relaxes, there’s a greater chance for airway collapse.

More things to avoid at bedtime: sleeping pills and other medications that are known to cause muscle relaxation – and either heavy or very spicy meals, particularly if you have acid reflux, since they can flare up irritating fluid in the throat.

5. Your allergies may be a trigger

Breathing in allergens, like pollen and pet dander, sets off swelling in your nose and throat tissues. As the tissues come under increased contact, the airway is likely to close, especially at bedtime. Our body’s ability to compensate for allergens while we’re sleeping is not the same as when we’re awake.

Thankfully, clearing up allergies is easy, from using a prescribed steroid nasal spray to non-sedating antihistamines to allergy shots.

6. Smoking can make matters worse

Yet another reason to kick butt: a study found that past and current smokers are more likely to snore regularly than non-smokers. Cigarette smoke is a hot irritant, which causes swelling of the soft tissues. Because smokers are prone to a raised level of throat inflammation and dryness, their chances are higher for tissue vibration and eventual airway collapse at night.

It’s smart to avoid smoking before bed, but it’s best to quit altogether.

7. Simple sleep tricks could make a difference

Try sleeping on your side or instead raising the head of your bed by from four to eight inches. This can counteract gravity, which causes the tongue and other tissues to fall backward and block your airway when you lie flat on your back.

Roll up several tea towels and place them in the middle of your back to keep you off it – comfortably – unlike the tennis ball technique.

8. Over-the-counter products aren’t that effective

After testing popular store-bought snoring aids, including an oral spray, nasal strips and head-positioning pillows, a study from Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery found that none significantly reduce snoring’s frequency or volume. That’s because snoring causes differ from person to person.

Ask your GP or Dentist for advice and make sure that you get help from a professional company. Look for NHS endorsed products.

9. There’s a comfortable alternative to cumbersome sleep masks

New compact oral appliances are worthy adversaries to the bulky, airblowing Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) masks, which are the traditional treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. Instead of uncomfortable and claustrophobic air pressure masks, high quality oral appliances thrust the bottom jaw forward to prevent airway blockage during sleep, just like CPR. These devices are more portable and comfortable, making patients more likely to stick with them.

Although snoring will end quickly with a mouthpiece, severe apnoea patients should continue to track their other symptoms.

By John Redfern


SleepPro supports the British Lung Foundation

SleepPro supports the British Lung Foundation

The British Lung Foundation has launched a new online action that enables people to email their local parliamentarian, urging them to take action in parliaments and governments across the UK to draw attention to the problems presented by heavy snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Most people will snore at one time or another but the incidence of heavy snoring is increasing rapidly, mostly due to lifestyle factors, and snoring is now thought to regularly affect the lives of 40% of men in the UK, and 25% of women, which if correct, adds up to almost 20 million people.

In addition, up to 4 per cent of middle-aged men and 2 per cent of middle-aged women in the UK have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA. With awareness of OSA low among the general public and even healthcare professionals, and up to 80 per cent of people with OSA remaining undiagnosed (and some studies suggest this could be even higher), there is a real need to take action on OSA – a known killer.

sleep cycle

Health boards are already under pressure to cut costs and improve standards by centralising services, but the British Lung Foundation says solutions can be found to provide better access for rural patients who are the ones to suffer most from lack of treatment or even diagnosis – and often with inevitable fatal results.

Earlier this year, the BLF launched a ten-point charter calling on governments and decision makers across the UK to take action to ensure that people affected by OSA are diagnosed earlier, and that they and their families get the treatment and support they need.

In a very short time this will save thousands of lives – and a great deal of money in the NHS budgets.

Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive, British Lung Foundation said:

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a treatable condition, but unfortunately awareness of it is not always what it should be. As a consequence too many people remain undiagnosed and untreated. Getting parliamentarians across the UK to engage with OSA as an issue is a great way to ensure the UK’s various governments and decision makers give OSA the attention it deserves.”

Caroline Stevens, Interim Chief Operating Officer at the BLF, said:

“The BLF’s OSA charter reflects the need for earlier diagnosis, better access to treatment and increased awareness – both amongst the wider public and medical community. The impact of OSA on health and lifestyle means these recommendations not only have the potential to save lives, but to make considerable savings to the NHS at a time of great financial pressure”.

Please help everyone with this problem by taking action now.

To write to your MP, MSP, AM or MLA by visiting this page:

www.blf.org.uk/osa-action

By John Redfern


Snorers who lie-in are TWICE as likely to develop bowel cancer

Snorers who sleep more than nine hours a night are twice as likely to develop bowel cancer than snorers who get seven hours of sleep a night, according to new research conducted at Harvard in the USA.

According to the Harvard study, snoring isn’t just annoying it poses very serious risks to a person’s health.

The study showed a significant link between long periods of sleep and the development of colorectal cancer, especially among people who are overweight or who snore. As a result, it is believed that obstructive sleep apnoea, a form of snoring that causes interrupted breathing during sleep, could contribute to an increased risk of cancer. One of the effects of sleep apnoea is that you are likely to suffer from excess fatigue because of disrupted sleep and this makes sufferers prone to sleeping longer to try to catch up.

The researchers asked participants to estimate their total hours of sleep in a 24-hour period and asked them if they snore.

A statement from the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School gave the following information:

‘Our current study adds to the very limited literature regarding the relationship between sleep duration, sleep quality and colorectal cancer risk. The novel observation of increased risk among regular snorers who sleep for long periods raises the possibility that sleep apnoea and its intermittent oxygen deprivation may contribute to cancer risk.’

Of 76,368 women and 30,121 men the researchers documented a total of 1,973 cases of colorectal cancer – almost 2 per cent of the total.

They broke the participants into subgroups which showed that men and women who were overweight, or who were regular snorers, and who reported sleeping nine hours or more per day, had a 1.4 to 2-fold increased risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to overweight people, or snorers, who got seven hours sleep a day.

The general recommendation is that most adults should get about seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

The authors suggest that the association between long sleep duration and colorectal cancer may be explained by obstructive sleep apnoea, which involves repetitive episodes of complete or partial upper airway obstruction during sleep.

The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnoea is excess body weight, and loud snoring is a common symptom of the condition.

The researchers strongly believe that sleep disruption caused by heavy snoring may reduce sleep quality and increase sleepiness, resulting in longer reported sleep durations. In addition to this, intermittent oxygen deprivation, similar to that which occurs in people with sleep apnoea, has been shown in animal models to promote significant tumour growth.

Other recent research has shown that people who sleep for less than six hours a night are at a significantly increased risk of stroke.

Researchers at the University of Alabama found that those in middle age who skimped on sleep were more likely to suffer stroke symptoms than those who got at least nine hours of shut-eye – even if they were a healthy weight and with no family history of stroke. Yet again, the scientists found that heavy snoring made the problem worse as it reduced the quality of people’s sleep.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that individual sleep needs vary. However, the general recommendation is that most adults should get about seven to eight hours of nightly sleep.

Relate this information to your own problem of snoring and take some immediate steps to reduce it – it’s ‘sound advice’.
By John Redfern

 


Oral Appliances Recommended For Sleep Apnoea

Perhaps someone has told you your snoring is deafening, or you’ve woken up on lots of mornings feeling less than refreshed. In those instances, it’s probably pretty obvious something is wrong with the way you sleep.

Sometimes it’s easy to diagnose the problem, but in the case of sleep apnoea, a disorder wherein people stop breathing while asleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night, pinpointing the problem can be significantly trickier. These brief periods when you stop breathing don’t trigger full alertness, but disrupt sleep enough to leave sufferers groggy in the mornings — and at risk for a number of more serious health problems, often without even realizing there’s a problem.

People with undiagnosed sleep apnoea may go on to develop depression, or even diabetes, and face an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, among other concerns.

Men over the age of 40 are most at risk. Being overweight also increases your likelihood of developing the condition, as can a family history of the disease, having a large tongue or neck and having allergies, sinus problems or any nasal obstruction, according to WebMD.

Luckily, there are a number of ways to treat sleep apnoea including simple lifestyle measures like losing weight and avoiding alcohol. But all too often a sleep apnoea diagnosis is hard to come by

A family member or bed partner is often first to notice the signs, usually snoring or brief periods of no breathing.

But don’t leave your health entirely in the hands of the people sleeping around you – take advice and do something about it.

‘Debbie’ wrote in to say that she was recently diagnosed with sleep apnoea. She was scheduled to get a CPAP breathing machine to treat it but when she went to her dentist she learned about another treatment option: a dental appliance fitted to her mouth, designed to keep her airway open when she sleeps.

As she is also mildly claustrophobic, it sounded like a better option. Now, months later, her sleep apnoea is gone and she’s seeing a chain of health benefits.

“I get up early, I’m usually busy all day,” she said. “I hardly ever nap anymore. My blood pressure is better.  I’ve cut my medicine in half and lost a little bit of weight and I just feel a lot better.”

A Sleep Centre Medical Director, Dr. Michael Coats, said the mandibular repositioning dental appliances are getting more popular. Before, the idea of a breathing machine may even have discouraged people from coming forward to get their sleep apnoea diagnosed.

“I think there’s lots of people that are more willing to seek treatment and evaluation if they realize they have options in regards to their treatment,” Coats said.

Debbie’ss dentist, Dr. Rob Heinrich, said it made sense to incorporate the dental devices into his business. The majority of the people he supplies with an oral appliance come in as recommendations from Sleep centres.

“What we’re finding is the compliance rates for the oral appliances is higher,” Heinrich said. “The efficacy or the success rate of the oral appliance may be lower, although, if the patient is not wearing a CPAP at all, the next best thing can be an oral appliance to help them.”

If you think you’re at risk – take a look at the range of oral appliances that are available from SleepPro – including a ready made Self Fit version for extra comfort, and the ultimate Custom version, specially made to fit you.
By John Redfern


THE AAA SAYS 16% of FATAL CRASHES CAUSED BY A DROWSY DRIVER

People with sleep apnoea are more likely to fail a driving simulator test and report nodding while driving, according to new research. For the sufferers of sleep apnoea, driving is highly dangerous for all on the roads.

Sleep apnoea may affect as many as 40 per cent of truck drivers, according to recent research in the USA, but a new study suggests they may be underreporting its effects.

The new study, which will be presented at the European Respiratory Society’s Annual Congress this week, shows that commercial vehicle drivers are more likely to understate their daytime sleepiness from the condition than people who don’t work in that field. The Congress was jointly organized by the European Respiratory Society, and the European Sleep Research Society.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is characterized by having pauses in breathing or shallow breathing while sleeping to create disrupted sleep and has previously been linked with an increased chance of being involved in road traffic accidents.

A research team from the University Hospital in Leeds, UK, carried out two separate studies looking at the effect sleep apnoea has on driving during a simulator test, carried out at the University of Leeds.

In the first study, 133 patients with untreated sleep apnoea and 89 people without the condition took part in the test. All participants completed a 90 km motorway driving simulation and were tested on a number of key criteria, including: The ability to complete the distance, time spent in the middle lane, an unprovoked crash or a veer event crash.

The results showed that patients with untreated sleep apnoea were more likely to fail the test. Twenty-four per cent of the sleep apnoea patients failed the test, compared to 12 per cent of the people without the condition. Many patients with sleep apnoea were unable to complete the test, had more unprovoked crashes and could not adhere to the clear driving instructions given at the beginning of the simulator test.

In the second study, 118 patients with untreated sleep apnoea and 69 people without the condition completed a questionnaire about their driving behaviour and undertook the 90 km driving test on the simulator.

Thirty-five per cent of patients with sleep apnoea admitted to nodding at the wheel and subsequently 38 per cent of this group failed the test. This compared to 11 per cent of people without the condition admitting to nodding and none of this group failing the test.

“In the first study, although some people in the control group also failed the test, there were several key differences in the reasons for failure,” said Dr. Mark Elliott, chief investigator. “For example 13 patients were unable to complete the test because they fell asleep, veered completely off the motorway and 5 patients because they spent more than 5 per cent of the study outside of the lane that they had been instructed to remain in. No controls failed for either of these reasons. Further investigation is needed to examine the reasons for failure of the simulator test.”

The public health implications of drowsy driving are clear:  The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that more than 16 per cent of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver.

To promote awareness of drowsy driving, the AASM released a free online presentation describing the signs, causes and effects of driver fatigue and some strategies to manage it.  SAFE-D: Sleep, Alertness and Fatigue Education for Drivers is available at www.aasmnet.org/safed.aspx. The presentation also is on YouTube and Vimeo to share or embed.
By John Redfern


STOP SNORING WEEK • Day 5

Ladies – Do you Snore – or are you actually very ill?

According to the very latest research, one woman for every two men are now diagnosed with sleep disorders. Basically their partner may snore – or it may even be themselves that is snoring. No longer ladies, can you tell your men that snoring is a man thing.

Men are also more likely to seek help for their snoring, outnumbering women eight to one, which could support the argument that men’s snoring is more disruptive than women’s snoring. But there has been a recent growth in women seeking help for their problem.

Mostly help is sought for social reasons – disruption – but if that problem is not just snoring, but obstructive sleep apnoea, then there are some very serious health implications too.

A study found that women who sleep with snorers might get decent sleep just 73 per cent of the time they are in bed; women who do not sleep with snorers get more than 90 per cent. So a woman who gets eight hours of beauty rest is awakened multiple times and might really get only five or six hours. More disturbing is the university’s finding that couples who are plagued by snoring are more likely to divorce, although we doubt that anyone has ever listed it on divorce papers as the reason for the split.

Men, or Women, who complain of persistent sleep disruption should encourage their partner to see their family doctors to rule out underlying problems such as anaemia, depression, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorder, etc. The doctor might also recommend a sleep study to rule out sleep apnoea, which is easily treated with positioning pillows, mouthpieces and CPAP devices. Sleep apnoea occurs when breathing stops because the airway becomes completely blocked.

‘Female First’ reports that over 40% of people say their partners snoring habit has a negative impact on how well they sleep and while a third of people have no idea why they snore, more than half have never done anything to stop themselves doing so.

This blind acceptance by snorers is contributing to some extreme reactions from long-suffering partners. Nearly a third of other halves resort to sleeping in another room while 2 in 5 engage in bedtime tussles, moving their partner from their back to their side to help ease the noise.

And this now applies to both men and women – not men alone – but women are not snoring more – there are just more of them seeking help. As obesity rates continue to rise and extra weight has an influence over snoring for lots of people, it is not unexpected that people are linking it with recent reports that more women are coming to clinics to stop their snoring. Drinking and smoking are additional contributory lifestyle factors.

If it is simply snoring, invest in an NHS recommended oral appliance, a dental mouthpiece, and you will quickly put it right.

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, you should consult your GP who may decide in consultation that you need a CPAP machine for night-time use. However, in the USA, where snoring problems and OSA have been accepted and treated for many years in advance of the UK, an alternative to a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is becoming a more popular remedy for sleep apnoea.

Sleep Centre Directors in the US are recommending mouthpieces for the problem as they are likely not to deter patients from coming forward and they are also likely to be used much more. Rejection of CPAP has been a problem for many years and for many reasons including extreme dryness of the throat and even claustrophobia.

A relevant comment from a leading Sleep Centre Director, Dr Michael Coats, was made last Thursday on Sleep Apnoea Day:

“What we’re finding is the compliance rates for the oral appliances is higher,” he said. “The efficacy or the success rate of the oral appliance may be a little lower, although, if the patient is not wearing a CPAP at all, the next best thing can be an oral appliance to help them.”

By John Redfern