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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

John Wilkinson replied to John Wilkinson's discussion I've 'hit a wall' can any body help me?
"Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate your help. I wasn't aware that there different types of apnoeas. I will be seeing the sleep nurse next week. I will keep you informed. John "
Thursday
John Wilkinson replied to John Wilkinson's discussion I've 'hit a wall' can any body help me?
"Thanks for that Kath. I am due to see the sleep clinic next week. Hopefully they will re-adjust the pressure. I will keep you informed. John"
Thursday
Edam replied to Edam's discussion Double inhaling
"I have read that APAP machines are not suitable for people with Asthma and give the same problems that I have been having. I am now having to use twice the dose of steriods just to keep the APAP happy If I can ever get in touch with my hospital I…"
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Kath Hope replied to Chris Vesey's discussion Medistron batteries
"Thanks Chris and we certainly are doing our homework Sleep2Snore.  Our charity work hard to get the right products at the right price for our fellow sufferers, and we have lots of loyal customers who purchase from us both to support the charity…"
Thursday
Kath Hope replied to John Wilkinson's discussion I've 'hit a wall' can any body help me?
"Sorry to hear after a good start you've taken a step backwards, and it could well be due to the reduction in pressure.  We don't recommend adjusting pressures but you're right to contact your hospital who will probably re-adjust…"
Thursday
Sleep2snore replied to John Wilkinson's discussion I've 'hit a wall' can any body help me?
"They have reduced it to far.  The max was 16, they should have left the machine at 18 if it is an APAP (automatic pressure) if it is a CPAP you have now same applies.  However, it might not be quite that straight forward as that as the…"
Wednesday
John Wilkinson posted a discussion

I've 'hit a wall' can any body help me?

I was diagnosed with severe OSA in November and I have been using a Philips Respironics CPAP machine and full face mask from early December up to now (about 5 months). My HPI's went down from 44 to about  14 in about 10 weeks and I was feeling much…See More
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Sleep2snore replied to Chris Vesey's discussion Medistron batteries
"They are very costly things to have sitting around to go wrong or if you forget to charge them by their date. You could try to see if they will do it on a sale or return basis, them you could keep one or two.  However, I think most are ordering…"
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Chris Vesey replied to Chris Vesey's discussion Medistron batteries
"Hi, I see from medistrom website they are looking for dealers, is it worth considering Kath"
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Sleep2snore replied to Chris Vesey's discussion Medistron batteries
"I wish the ResMed was 12Vdc, it would make life a lot easier. I wonder why they need 24Vdc anyway? My APAP is not mine to and see why it has to be 24Vdc! I don't think the clinic might be to impressed if I opened it for a look. "
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Sleep2snore replied to Edam's discussion Double inhaling
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Chris Vesey replied to Chris Vesey's discussion Medistron batteries
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Chris Vesey replied to Chris Vesey's discussion Medistron batteries
"hi, at the time amazon were selling the pilot for £285 and the co pilot for £137, gone up a lot since then chris"
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Edam replied to Edam's discussion Double inhaling
"I have read that if you have Asthma a CPAP is better than a APAP  When the APAP increases the pressure it makes the asthma worse and then the APAP increases the pressure again which makes the asthma even worse ..... This is exactly whats…"
May 13
Kath Hope replied to Chris Vesey's discussion Medistron batteries
"Chris why did you purchase Medistrom as opposed to the Resmed battery?  Don't get me wrong as I've heard great things about the Medistrom and recommended it myself to people, but looking at the prices it seems just as or even more…"
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Chris Vesey posted a discussion

Medistron batteries

Hi,I bought a pilot and co pilot set up a few months ago and have recently been trying them out. I have found by trial and error the following,First switch off all humidifiers etc.Switch to airplane mode, this reduces the amount of battery power…See More
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Chris Vesey replied to Helen Page's discussion Another newbie with a gazillion questions
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Edam replied to Edam's discussion Double inhaling
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Sleep2snore replied to Edam's discussion Double inhaling
"It is a machine and if you have COPD and suffer from hay fever and asthma it will cause problems that you will have to find a work around for.  Looks like you have already found one that helps. It is very much a case of experiment and see. "
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