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Sleep Apnoea Information

 

WHAT IS SLEEP APNOEA?

 

The Greek word 'Apnoea' means 'Without Breath' which is where the name of the 'condition' called Sleep Apnoea (also spelt Apnea in some countries) is derived from.  Therefore, Sleep Apnoea means stopping breathing whilst sleeping!

Sleep Apnoea is a medical 'condition' which is only just being widely recognized in the UK.  However, it is a serious 'condition', due to the other illnesses it is linked to, such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, driving accidents, obesity, anxiety/depression and thyroid problems.  New research is being undertaken constantly and many more links to other medical conditions are possible.

In most cases, a person with sleep apnoea will be a snorer, and mostly (unbeknown to them) will stop breathing many times a night, ranging from mild cases of around 5-14 apnoeas per hour, 15-30 apnoeas would be a moderate case and 30+ is severe.  The apnoea (stop breathing episode) will happen whilst sleeping, and the brain (thankfully) sends messages to the body to start breathing again.  Unfortunately this cycle will repeat itself throughout the night.  The sufferer will often wake up feeling unrefreshed, but will not put this down to lack of sleep, as they are under the impression they have slept well, due to most people being unaware of what has been happening through the night.  It is normally the bed partner who may notice what is going on.  Many have reported of hearing their bed partner snoring, followed by a silent pause when they suspect their partner has stopped breathing (which they have!).  The sufferer will then usually make a snorting, choking or gasping noise, and they will start breathing again,but the cycle will continue throughout the night.


SYMPTOMS


A person with undiagnosed sleep apnoea may present some or all of the following symptoms:-

  • Daytime tiredness - often with the need for naps when circumstances permit.
  • Snoring
  • Sudden awakenings from sleep (but not always as many sufferers are unaware of waking up).
  • Lack of concentration, poor work or school performance and possibly memory problems or confusion.
  • Depression, anxiety or irritability.
  • Morning headaches and/or migraines.
  • Dry mouth and/or sore throat on waking.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • They may already be a diabetic, have had a heart attack or stroke, suffer from hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia and other medical conditions which are still being discovered.
  • Many other symptoms can be present due to sleep deprivation.


CAUSES


There are several different causes why a person has Obstructive Sleep Apnoea or how it can be made worse, as follows:-

  • Nasal Blockage, due to deviated septum, narrow passages, congestion, allergies etc.
  • Large Uvula.
  • Obesity.
  • Overuse of Alcohol.
  • Certain Medications, such as tranquillisers etc.
  • Large Tonsils or Adenoids.
  • Large Soft Palate.
  • Receding Jaw.
  • Enlarged Tongue.
  • Smoking.
  • Brain slow to send messages to breathe (this is known as Central Sleep Apnoea and is not as common as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea).
  • Having a family member with Sleep Apnoea, normally due to inheriting craniofacial issues.


IF YOU SUSPECT YOU MAY HAVE SLEEP APNOEA


There are several routes to take, but the most important one is TAKE ACTION NOW!!

  • Book an appointment to discuss this with your GP, who should refer you to a Specialist to arrange a Sleep Study.
  • Ask your bed partner to observe you sleeping.
  • If possible, record the sound of yourself sleeping, or even a video recording.
  • You can take a simple Home Screening Sleep Test to check if you do have sleep apnoea.  These are particularly helpful for persuading your GP to send you to for a full sleep study at your nearest sleep clinic.
  • The Epworth Sleepiness Scale Questionnaire is normally one of the first things you would be asked to fill in.  This will give you a good indication of whether you need further help after adding up your scores.  You could print out your results and take them to your GP.  

Click Here to go directly to the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, fill in the questionnaire, press 'Analyse Results' then Print


TREATMENTS


  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) where filtered air is delivered from a CPAP Machine via a hose/tube and into a Nasal or Full Face Mask, preventing the airways from collapsing.  There are different forms of CPAP machines, such as APAP, BIPAP, VPAP and your sleep doctor will advise the most appropriate treatment for you.
  • Dental Appliances and Oral Devices can sometimes be a suitable option.
  • Surgery is sometimes a consideration.


SELF HELP


  • DO NOT drive a vehicle when tired.
  • Try to lose some weight.  Even losing as little as 10% of the body weight can reduce the amount of apnoeas.  Many diagnosed sleep apnoea sufferers have reported how much easier it is to lose weight once they are on successful treatment.
  • Try not to drink alcohol or eat within at least 3 hours of going to bed.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Try not to sleep on your back, and if possible, elevate the head of the bed by 4-6 inches.


STATISTICS


According to the 'American Sleep Apnea Association,' "Sleep Apnea (Apnoea) is as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than 12 million Americans.  However, because of the lack of awareness by the public and even some healthcare professionals, the vast majority remain undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated - despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences."

According to the 'British Lung Foundation,' "it is estimated that about 110,000 people in the UK suffer from Sleep Apnoea/Hypopnoea.  Prevalence is higher in men than women and higher in those who are overweight.  It affects an esimated 4% of males and 2% of females in the UK, although it is thought to be considerably higher in specific groups and occupations, such as long-distance lorry drivers and shift workers, where the consequences can be fatal or lead to serious injury if left undiagnosed and untreated.  It is also esimated that only 1 in 10 patients with the syndrome have so far been diagnosed and treated.  The rate of treatment in the UK is lower than most other developed countries."


CONCLUSION


Sleep Apnoea (Apnea) is a serious condition, due to its links with other life threatening illnesses.  Not only will you lower your risks of these other illnesses, but you will start to feel so much better in yourself when you are on successful treatment.  

 

PLEASE, FOR YOUR SAKE AND YOUR FAMILIES, DO NOT IGNORE YOUR SYMPTOMS, AND SEEK MEDICAL HELP NOW!!

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Latest Activity

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Wednesday
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Mar 18
Lee replied to Lee's discussion DreamWear full face
"Well I turned EPR on and tried the mask again last night, but again I stopped breathing which woke me up gasping for air. It seems to happen just after or not long after I drop off, after the third time I changed mask back to original one and went…"
Mar 18
Kath Hope replied to Lee's discussion DreamWear full face
"Sorry for the delay as I managed to get myself locked out of the forum lol.  Please don't be messing with the pressures and contact your hospital if your wife has noticed you looking gray.  Perhaps go back to a different mask until…"
Mar 15
Edam replied to Edam's discussion APAP or BIPAP
"There is no link between the 95% pressure and the AHI. A few nights back my 95% pressure was 19.46 with AHI 0 Last night my 95% pressure was 17 with AHI 0 When the AHI does increase its normally hypopnoea,s So why does the APAP want to increase the…"
Mar 15
Lee replied to Lee's discussion DreamWear full face
"Hi thanks for the reply’s I will look at this as the wife said I was gray yesterday and after looking at the instructions again it says about the symptoms I had to not use and talk to my clinic so a bit worried. I used my other full face mask…"
Mar 15
Sleep2snore replied to Lee's discussion DreamWear full face
"I would say if you have the Ramp Start enabled to make it start at a higher pressure.  Check also if you are using a big enough cushion as this is a common mistake.  Same with Nasal Pillows, people tend too use a size to small. Check you…"
Mar 14
Sleep2snore replied to Edam's discussion APAP or BIPAP
"That is not impossible, even dust and mites can cause problems, even the mites that are so tiny you can't see them and they live on your body.  However, only you yourself can work out if certain food make things worse.  It could be…"
Mar 14
Edam replied to Edam's discussion APAP or BIPAP
"I am now finding that the pressure the APAP runs at during the night is dependent  on what I have eaten that evening. I have found that if I have bolied rice rather than chips with the evening meal then my 95% pressure can reduce by as much as…"
Mar 14
Kath Hope replied to Lee's discussion DreamWear full face
"Hi Lee.  Sorry to hear you're still having problems with masks.  It's not normal to feel there's not enough air with the DreamWear as that mask usually give people the opposite sensation of feeling more pressure than…"
Mar 13
Lee posted a discussion

DreamWear full face

Hi all I’m having trouble with my DreamWear full face mask,I’ve spent a long time getting the fit right but I have two problems 1. The bit between my nostrils somehow hurts it’s bearable but I would sooner not have the pain and 2. I have to breathe…See More
Mar 13
Sleep2snore replied to SleepyHead's discussion NHS or Private to get diagnosis to determine treatment
"How are you getting on, any progress?"
Mar 5
Sleep2snore replied to Edam's discussion APAP or BIPAP
"I was not off for a few days. The results were the same as when I started! Which I have to say was bad!"
Mar 5
Felicity Goodliffe is now a member of Hope2SleepGuide
Mar 5
Edam replied to Edam's discussion APAP or BIPAP
"It is my understanding that when a new sleep test is required you need to be off CPAP for a few days to get a accurate test. Is this correct The London hospital does not seem to be aware of this"
Mar 4
John Brown is now a member of Hope2SleepGuide
Mar 2
SleepyHead replied to SleepyHead's discussion NHS or Private to get diagnosis to determine treatment
"Thank you - that is very helpful"
Feb 26
Sleep2snore replied to SleepyHead's discussion NHS or Private to get diagnosis to determine treatment
"Private and will not be cheap!  London Sleep Clinic (PRIVATE) London Bridge Hospital  know nothing about this one. Sleep & Snoring Institute  Know nothing about this one either, If you are near London try getting to one of the…"
Feb 25
Sleep2snore replied to Edam's discussion APAP or BIPAP
"Sleepyhead YouTube.  Sleepyhead on YouTube"
Feb 25

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