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

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.


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.


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

Poor sleep linked to cancer – Shift workers are particularly warned.

In a week when the daily press headlines were full of a major treatment breakthrough by the University of Sheffield for the prevention of breast cancer, other information that was published by the BBC, referring to new reports that state disturbed sleep patterns to be one of the key causes.

offline beauty woman sleep on the pillow

Irregular sleeping patterns have been “unequivocally” shown to lead to cancer in tests on animals, a study suggests and the report, published in Current Biology, lends weight to these concerns about the damaging impact of shift work on health.

The researchers said women with a family risk of breast cancer should never work shifts, but cautioned that further tests in people were needed.

Studies in people have often suggested a higher risk of diseases such as breast cancer in shift workers and flight attendants.

One argument is disrupting the body’s internal rhythm – or body clock – increases the risk of disease.  However, the link is uncertain because the type of person who works shifts may also be more likely to develop cancer due to factors such as social class, activity levels or the amount of vitamin D they get.

Mice prone to developing breast cancer had their body clock delayed by 12 hours every week for a year. Normally they had tumours after 50 weeks – but with regular disruption to their sleeping patterns, the tumours appeared eight weeks earlier.

The report said: “This is the first study that unequivocally shows a link between chronic light-dark inversions and breast cancer development.”

Interpreting the consequences for humans is fraught with difficulty, but the researchers guesstimated the equivalent effect could be an extra 10kg (1st 8lb) of body weight or for at-risk women getting cancer about five years earlier.

“If you have a situation where a family is at risk for breast cancer, I would certainly advise those people not to work as a flight attendant or to do shift work,” one of the researchers from the Erasmus University Medical Centre, in the Netherlands, said.

Dr Michael Hastings, from the UK’s Medical Research Council, told the BBC: “I consider this study to give the definitive experimental proof that circadian [body clock] disruption can accelerate the development of breast cancer.

“The general public health message coming out of my area of work is shift work, particularly rotational shift work, is a major area o stress and therefore it has far-reaching consequences.

“There are things people should be looking out for – such as paying more attention to your body weight, paying more attention to inspecting breasts, and employers should offer more in-work health checks for their staff. They should try to eliminate problems such as snoring by using an oral appliance.

The data also indicated the animals were 20% heavier despite eating the same amount of food. Being overweight is known to be a key factor. A clear indication of weight gain is always snoring as the tissue tends to close the throat and make the passage of the airflow constricted, resulting in the sound we all know so well, and constantly hear more of.

This is of particular concern at the moment when so much new information is coming to our attention on weight gain – particularly amongst the young. More than a third of overweight or obese teenagers don’t think they are too heavy and consider their weight to be about right, according to a study. Cancer experts say the findings are worrying because carrying excess weight increases the chance of developing many cancers.

Other reports show that many are binge eaters, and also have a sugar intake that is far too high – both of which exacerbate the problem. As a consequence more and more teenagers snore – yet they or their parents do nothing about it when simple solutions are there to help them.

Of course the key solutions are healthier diet and more exercise, but it’s also important to restrict the damage being done by restriction of oxygen due to being overweight.

Use of a simple oral appliance, similar to a sports gum-shield, or even using a Chin Strap, both of which can be worn comfortably when sleeping, will stop most people snoring immediately, and prevent this early damage to health until weight is under control.

John Redfern.

Don’t ignore the sound of snoring – it’s the fire alarm for your health.

Snoring is now at world epidemic levels, with about 4 in 10 men and 3 in 10 women being affected and it’s often related to obesity and weight gain. It’s a true worldwide problem and affects all the major nations. When your throat narrows due to weight gain, then airflow is restricted and you snore.

Fitness Instructor Addressing Overweight People At Diet Club

Untreated snoring can lead to many serious health problems, such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, hypertension, depression, chronic fatigue, cancer, earlier onset of memory loss, and major liver damage. The worse cases of snoring develop into obstructive sleep apnoea, (OSA) and as an example of this, 34% of men and 17% of women in the USA alone suffer from obstructive sleep apnea in all its possible degrees of severity.

Not only that, but the United States is home to the highest proportion of the world’s obese people, at 13 per cent. Similar weight-related problem exists worldwide. Numerically, more than 50 per cent of the world’s 671 million obese people live in 10 countries: the United States, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Even in countries such as Australia which projects an image of being a health-conscious, fitness-oriented, sports loving nation – the problem exists. But experts say that Australia’s unprecedented affluence along with a culture of convenience foods, growing portion sizes and an increasingly sedentary life-style have made one in two Australians overweight and turned the country into one of the fattest in the world.

Worse still, while studies show that obesity rates in other developed countries like the US have begun to level off, those of Australia are still rising. Last year, it climbed to 4th in the ranking of advanced nations with the largest proportion of obese citizens at 28.3%, behind the USA, Mexico and New Zealand.

A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Health, says the government has already committed A$932m to initiatives and media campaigns targeting health education and promoting healthy choices. The government has also updated physical activity and dietary guidelines. Initiatives are also taking place at state level, like in New South Wales – where officials say obesity costs the state approximately A$20bn every year. With nearly 11 million overweight Australians and obesity-related diseases on the rise, perhaps even more serious measures are needed before it gets worse.

Exactly the same problems exist in the UK and press focus this week has been very much on the subject – particularly amongst children of all ages, and the amount of their sugar intake from soft drinks and other products.

University College London researchers looked at data from more than 56,000 people born in Britain since the end of WW2 and found a clear shift over time, with obesity becoming more common and starting earlier in life. Obese children often go on to be obese adults, carrying with them an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The first, post-War male babies did not become overweight until they hit the age of 40, on average, the report said – but the next two generations of men got fatter younger, at a median age of 33 and 30, respectively.

The trend was the same for women. By the third generation babies born in the 1970s, the median age for becoming overweight was 41, compared with 48 for those born in 1946 and 44 for those born in 1958.

By the fourth generation, obesity was becoming common in childhood.
Children born since the 1980s were up to three times more likely than older generations to be overweight or obese by the age of 10, and latest figures for England suggest a fifth of children joining primary school are now obese or overweight at age 5.

A spokesman for Public Health England, said: “Evidence shows children of obese parents are much more likely to have weight problems, which is a major concern when almost two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

“Almost one in 10 children aged 5 are obese – but what’s worse is that by the time they reach 11, this doubles to nearly one in five.” “Obese children are more likely to experience bullying, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and have a higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.” Teenagers are not easily directed and it was clear that the 11- to 15-year-olds were the most vulnerable and difficult group.

The UK government has already launched a number of initiatives to help people eat more healthily and be more active, and others are planned, as it is already costing the NHS £billions per year.

John Redfern