STOP SNORING WEEK • Day 3

SleepPro support the British Lung Foundation in their action on sleep apnoea

It has become more and more apparent that heavy snoring and OSA (obstructive sleep apnoea) need to be treated much more seriously by all the national health services. As a consequence The British Lung Foundation has launched a new online initiative that encourages people to email their local parliamentarian, urging them to take action in parliament in the UK to draw attention to the problems presented by obstructive sleep apnoea.

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) and most of these cases go undiagnosed and untreated.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a condition in which people continually stop breathing when muscle and soft tissues in the throat relax during sleep and block the airway.

With awareness of OSA low among the general public and 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.

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.

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.”

When we go to sleep our muscles relax, including those in our throat. In some people the relaxing muscles cause the throat to narrow, which can reduce the airflow. This results in snoring.

If the throat closes (obstructs) completely, you stop breathing temporarily – this is called an apnoea, or if throat partially closes it is called a hypopnoea. When this happens, there may be a dip in the level of oxygen in the blood.

The brain starts the person breathing again: some people wake up briefly, others are not aware of what is happening. Breathing often restarts with a gasp, and the pattern repeats. In severe cases this cycle happens hundreds of times a night. This can cause the person to feel very sleepy during the day, because their sleep is being disrupted at night.

The oxygen disruption is extremely dangerous and can be a key factor in the development of long-term health problems such as diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular problems and even cancer.

Act now…..Save Lives

To write to your MP, MSP, AM or MLA by visiting this page:
www.blf.org.uk/osa-action
By John Redfern