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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

Damien replied to Damien's discussion Newly diagnosed via Phillips at home test and needing advice
"Hi Kathy, i bit the bullet the other day and just ordered the apap. What is the usual waiting time for order and delivery completion in mainland UK? thanks  damien "
yesterday
Kath Hope replied to Damien's discussion Newly diagnosed via Phillips at home test and needing advice
"Bless you and do understand, now you've got a diagnosis with 'hope' in sight for an end, or at least vast improvements, to your symptoms.  We got some more machines ordered today, although only one APAP without a humifidier...the…"
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Damien replied to Damien's discussion Newly diagnosed via Phillips at home test and needing advice
"Hi Kath, I’m just holding off to see final sight of my insurance docs and to speak to them (on the very unlikely chance they can do anything) but it does look like it will be excluded so will likely buy the apap this week and then see ENT…"
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Kath Hope replied to Raza silveira's discussion Sleep disorder following mini stroke
"You definitely will be in good hands Raza and we look forward to helping you soon :)  Meanwhile, if you've not registered you might want to join us this Thursday on our support webinar…"
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Kath Hope replied to Damien's discussion Newly diagnosed via Phillips at home test and needing advice
"Agree Damien, that although 14.6 is classed as mild (on the border of moderate though) I'd want that AHI and spo2 treating asap and especially if symptomatic. I'm not sure why you'd wait for recommendation from ENT though re CPAP when…"
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Damien replied to Damien's discussion Newly diagnosed via Phillips at home test and needing advice
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Monday
Raza silveira replied to Raza silveira's discussion Sleep disorder following mini stroke
"Yes it is and I am reassured that I am in very good hands. raza"
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Kath Hope replied to Raza silveira's discussion Sleep disorder following mini stroke
"You're welcome Raza and if it's us at the charity you've booked the sleep study with then it will be me who gives you the results, and the sleep consultant we use is very thorough indeed and will take all your medical history and any…"
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Kath Hope replied to Damien's discussion Newly diagnosed via Phillips at home test and needing advice
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Damien posted a discussion

Newly diagnosed via Phillips at home test and needing advice

Hi all,I have recently been diagnosed with OSA via home test i paid for privately with Phillips and looking at some advice to get treated in the UK via NHS, private, or by sorting myself. I have never felt rested in the morning and people have…See More
Feb 28
Raza silveira replied to Raza silveira's discussion Sleep disorder following mini stroke
"Hi Kath Thank you very much for the detailed response and additional links. It is quite a relief to have problems shared and acknowledged. I am requesting the sleep test over two nights for good measure and will let you know how I get on. Raza"
Feb 27
Kath Hope replied to Raza silveira's discussion Sleep disorder following mini stroke
"Hi Raza and glad you found us. Firstly to say, there are many of us who aren't overweight, smokers or regular drinkers (mine's severe), as the main reason for sleep apnoea is due to craniofacial issues that we inherit, but of course being…"
Feb 26
Raza silveira posted a discussion

Sleep disorder following mini stroke

Hi Kath and everybody. My name is Raza and am new to this forum. It feels really good to sound out people who have first hand experience of sleep apnoea. I am 72 not overweight and do not drink or smoke. I had a mini stroke,cerebellum, just before…See More
Feb 26
Raza silveira replied to The SleepGuide Crew's discussion Welcome to our Forum - Feel Free to Introduce Yourself Here.
"Hi Kath and everybody. My name is Raza and am new to this forum. It feels really good to sound out people who have first hand experience of sleep apnoea. I am 72 not overweight and do not drink or smoke. I had a mini stroke,cerebellum, just before…"
Feb 26
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Feb 26
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Hope2Sleep Charity's Free Online Webinar at Online

March 4, 2021 from 8pm to 9:30pm
All Welcome to our Hope2Sleep Charity's 2nd Online Webinar.  Please note you do not need a Zoom account to join our webinar and you won't be on camera so no need to be shy!You can also ask questions during the webinar to be answered by the…See More
Feb 25
Kath Hope posted an event
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Hope2Sleep Charity's Free Online Webinar at Online

March 4, 2021 from 8pm to 9:30pm
All Welcome to our Hope2Sleep Charity's 2nd Online Webinar.  Please note you do not need a Zoom account to join our webinar and you won't be on camera so no need to be shy!You can also ask questions during the webinar to be answered by the…See More
Feb 25
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