Apnoea a Major Cause of Road Accidents

car accidentSleep apnoea is becoming a more common breathing disorder. This breathing disorder, characterised by breathing pauses and reduction of ventilation during sleep, can bring about signs and symptoms such as snoring, increased daytime sleepiness and increased blood pressure.

An article from http://arabnews.com has featured some important facts about sleep apnoea:

  • Sleep apnoea is caused by relaxation of the throat muscles during sleep. During sleep the muscles of the upper part of the breathing passages in the nose, but particularly in the throat, relax. This can cause narrowing of the air passages and lead to a reduction in airflow which becomes noisy and turbulent. This manifests as snoring.

  • The cessation of breathing during snoring and sleep is termed as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and if lasting 10 seconds or more is classified as a significant event. In some patients the apnoea may be 15, 30 or even 40 seconds plus.

  • During the apnoea the oxygen levels in the blood will dip in some people to worryingly low levels. The brains eventually kick starts the breathing and the patient gasps, and may even wake up and then starts rebreathing only for the event to occur again. In mild cases these occur up to 15 times an hour, in moderate cases 15-30 events and in severe cases 30 or more events every hour of sleep. Individuals with 60-100 events per hour are not uncommon.

  • Obesity is a major risk factor for developing OSA. In children large tonsils play a major role and an operation may be curative, which is usually not the case in adults suffering from OSA.

  • People suffering from OSA may have signs and symptoms such as lack of refreshing sleep, tiredness, early morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, depression and loss of sex drive. Children usually suffer from poor school performance, poor behaviour and hyperactivity.

  • Death and major heart problems may result from sleep apnoea. It may lead to high blood pressure, cause a pre-diabetic state and make existing diabetes more difficult to manage. There is an increased incidence of heart problems such as heart attacks and heart rhythm disorders. There is also an increased likelihood of suffering a stroke and the kidneys can also be damaged.

  • Sleep apnoea can also lead to increased road accidents.

  • Adults can be assessed quickly by completing a STOP BANG questionnaire. The acronym represents: Snoring loudly; Tiredness during the day; Obstruction, usually observed by partner; Pressure, suffering high blood pressure; BMI, Body Mass Index greater than 35; Age, 50 years or above; Neck, collar size greater than 16 inches and Gender, if male score one. Each yes answer is scored as one and a score of 4 or above indicates a very high chance of OSA and the individual should have a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis.

  • CPAP, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is recommended for adults with moderate or severe OSA. CPAP delivers air under a pressure needed to keep the airway open, via a facial mask over the nose or nose and mouth. If it is correctly used it can have a dramatic improvement within two to three days.

  • Other treatment options include surgery, a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) and lifestyle changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and avoiding sedatives and meals before bedtime.

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Somnowell Inventor - Visiting Professor Simon Ash FDS MSc MOrth BDS

Prof. Ash is the inventor of the highly successful SOMNOWELL Chrome device for snoring and sleep apnoea.

The Somnowell Chrome is made to exacting standards in the Somnowell laboratory under the supervision of Visiting Professor Simon Ash. Prof. Ash and his master technicians create each Somnowell Chrome device using their wealth of experience and expertise.

Prof. Ash works at the forefront of his profession. He is a Consultant and Specialist Orthodontist with over 30 years clinical experience, with a special interest in sleep related breathing disorders, TMJD, and bruxism. He currently works in Harley Street London and two private hospitals in London as part of a multi-disciplinary team managing snoring and sleep apnoea, and is Visiting Professor of Orthodontics at the BPP University.