People with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea: How Do They Live?

aerobicsIf you are affected by sleep apnoea, you know the feeling. Sleep apnoea manifests itself as snoring, frequent awakenings during night sleep and choking while sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnoea, as a medical condition, is marked by repetitive episodes of partial or complete upper airway obstruction that frequently results in sleep fragmentation, excessive daytime sleepiness, impaired concentration and memory, and reduced cognitive function.

But how about the patient’s daily functioning? Are patients with sleep apnoea able to live a healthy and normal life?

A study recently published in the June 2013 issue of the North American Journal of Medical Sciences aimed to evaluate the association of obstructive sleep apnoea severity with exercise capacity and quality of life. This is in reference to the hypothesis that obstructive sleep apnoea may limit exercise capacity and may lower health-related quality of life.

In this study, researchers evaluated subjects by home somnography. Forty-three subjects were classified as not having obstructive sleep apnoea, 27 subjects were classified as having mild sleep apnoea and 21 subjects were classified as having moderate or severe sleep apnoea. Exercise capacity was assessed by a ramping cycle ergometer test, and health-related quality of life was assessed with the SF-36 questionnaire.

The results showed that greater obstructive sleep apnoea severity was associated with older age, higher body weight, higher body mass index, lower peak aerobic capacity, a higher percentage of peak aerobic capacity at a submaximal exercise intensity of 55 watts, and lower physical component summary score from the SF-36. The authors concluded that severity of obstructive sleep apnoea is not associated with exercise tolerance or health-related quality of life and should not be considered a barrier to exercise participation. Regular physical exercise could be beneficial to patients with obstructive sleep apnoea in alleviating symptoms, improving quality of life, and reducing chronic disease risk.

The authors commented that subjects with OSAS may have difficulty with regular aerobic exercise participation because of two hallmark symptoms – excessive daytime sleepiness and chronic fatigue. Fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness may be intimately related to health risks fundamentally associated with obesity such as insulin resistance, psychological distress or very low physical activity levels. The lesson here? Treat sleep apnoea and experience less fatigue!


Butner KL, Hargens TA, Kaleth AS, Miller LE, Zedalis D, Herbert WG. Association of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Severity with Exercise Capacity and Health-related Quality of Life. N Am J Med Sci. 2013 Jun;5(6):362-6.

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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.