How Much Do You Know About Sleep Apnoea?
The British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association recently conducted a survey into public awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
The purpose of the survey was to test the knowledge of the nation on whether they would recognise the signs of sleep apnoea in themselves, or their partner. For example, sleep apnoea is prevalent in individuals who are overweight or obese, especially if they have a large waist and hips, a large collar size and a short neck. Smoking and regularly drinking alcohol can also pre-dispose to snoring and sleep apnoea.
Loud snoring, interruptions to breathing at night and feeling sleepy during the day are symptoms of sleep apnoea. Because they develop over many years they are often unrecognised by the patient but it is the bed partner who notices them first. Daytime sleepiness is a major symptom but middle aged or older patients may consider this to be just a function of getting old. Similarly, many people believe that snoring is normal. It is common but not normal and left unaddressed often leads to sleep apnoea.
Risk factors associated with sleep apnoea can vary especially between males and females. Sleep apnoea is an independent risk factor for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, congestive cardiac failure, cerebrovascular disease and coronary artery disease. Evidence suggests that although sleep apnoea in women is less severe, they are more vulnerable to the effects of sleep apnoea on the cardiovascular system and have a higher mortality rate than men.
The published data will be an education tool to alert the public that the undesirable effects of sleep apnoea can be avoided if the signs and symptoms are recognised at an early stage.