Snoring And Apnoea Blog

A Hidden Epidemic. And YOU Know Someone Who's Affected.

Posted on Wed, Nov 07, 2012

We are all living through what medical literature refers to as 'a hidden epidemic'.  This epidemic affects both genders, all ages, and all body shapes, from lean to obese.  One in every three adults suffer from a significant form of this condition -- yet most people blithely ignore the condition, thinking it's normal.

The condition in question is 'sleep disordered breathing' (SDB).  This term covers a wide range of ailments, from simple snoring through to severe obstructive sleep apnoea, where the sufferer literally stops breathing while asleep. 

All forms of the condition are harmful, to varying degrees.  Even simple snoring, which everyone tends to joke and tease about, is actually a loud, clear signal that the airflow is impaired.  This is NEVER a good thing. 

Countless studies have found clear links between sleep disordered breathing and a wide range of negative consequences and co-morbidities, including hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic retardation and conseqenent weight gain / obesity, acid reflux, loss of libido, impotence, waking tiredness, daytime sleepiness, and reduced cognitive ability. 

Excellent treatments are available, and diagnostic sleep studies no longer need to be performed in hospital or sleep lab environments.  (These studies monitor the patient's breathing patterns and stoppages, brain activity, cardiac activity, sleeping position, blood oxygen levels, limb movements ... and much more, all while the patient sleeps.  Portable diagnostic equipment means the sleep study can now be performed in the comfort, privacy and convenience of the patient's own bedroom.

If you snore or suffer from the side effects listed above, or if you know someone who does, then take action.  Snoring might be common, but it is NOT normal and is probably a sign of a more serious underlying condition. 

Call us on 1300 246 637 for more information or to chat with a friendly sleep therapist.

Tags: snoring, sleep disordered breathing, hidden epidemic, apnoea

Snoring And Pregnancy Bad For Mother And Child

Posted on Wed, Sep 26, 2012

Snoring during pregnancy is surprisingly common, although the physiological reason explaining why a woman would start snoring during pregnancy is unclear.  The most commonly held theory is that the sleep disordered breathing is as a result of the weight gain which often accompanies pregnancy. 

Regardless of the reason, the problem is that snoring during pregnancy may be a sign of sleep disordered breathing conditions which put women at risk for high blood pressure.  According to a new study, this is a potentially serious complication for the mother and baby.

The study, done at the University of Michigan's Sleep Disorders Center, monitored more than 1,700 pregnant women who were at least 28 weeks pregnant.   Among those whose snoring began during pregnancy, about 10 percent had pregnancy-related hypertension, compared with 4.5 percent of those who did not snore.

In addition, 13 percent of those whose snoring began during pregnancy had preeclampsia, compared with 8 percent of those who did not snore.  High blood pressure in pregnancy is linked with an increased risk of premature birth and smaller babies.

Any pause or obstruction in breathing during sleep increases the activity of the nervous system, which in turn increases blood pressure, said Professor Julie O'Brien, the research leader.

The findings held even after the researchers took into account factors that could affect blood pressure, such as the mother's age, race, smoking habits and weight gain in pregnancy.

The researchers estimate that close to 19 percent of pregnancy-related high blood pressure cases, and 11 percent of preeclampsia cases, could be helped by treating any sleep disordered breathing.

A separate study published earlier this month found that babies born to women with sleep apnea were at increased risk for admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.

"If sleep apnea really is playing a role in these outcomes, then this is a clear opportunity that we can intervene and hopefully improve some of those pregnancy outcomes," O'Brien said.

Pregnancy, in fact any weight gain, is known to put people at risk for breathing problems during sleep, including snoring, the researchers said. Earlier studies have also linked breathing problems in sleep to an increased risk of high blood pressure in the general population.

O'Brien and colleagues are now conducting a study to see if treating breathing problems with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) reduces high blood pressure in pregnant women.

The new study was published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


 

Tags: snoring, Pregnancy, hypertension, preeclampsia

Snoring & Apnoea - Scary Facts

Posted on Thu, Oct 27, 2011

According to a recent scientific paper published by BUPA:

Snoring arising from the base of the tongue can cause partial or complete airway obstruction due to a collapse of the throat, which is essentially a muscular tunnel. If the muscles relax too much, the walls of the tunnel fall in and this inhibits inspiration (breathing in). There may only be a partial collapse, but the effect nevertheless is that the muscles of breathing have to work harder to drag air into the lungs past this obstruction.

Where complete cessation of breathing occurs the condition is called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). {Note: apnoea is spelt ‘apnea’ in the United States and Canada). Cessation of breathing may last anywhere from ten seconds to two minutes. Apnoea patients may experience 30 to 300 such events per night. These episodes often lead to significantly reduced blood oxygen levels.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is graded as mild, moderate or severe. Typically, sleep apneoa is considered mild when the patient has from five to fifteen arousals from sleep (“events”) per hour, moderate when the patient has fifteen to thirty events per hour, and severe when the patient has more than 30 events per hour. Some patients only exhibit apnoea, or the apnoea becomes more severe, during rapid eye movement (“REM”) sleep.

REM sleep occurs when the patient is dreaming and the body suspends itself into a flaccid paralysis, reducing muscle tone to its lowest level. The airway is most susceptible to collapse during REM sleep. Arousal during REM sleep is especially harmful to the patient because it is during REM sleep that the body gains the most significant restorative and regenerative benefits from sleep. Without REM sleep the person will not feel refreshed from the sleep period and is subject to the many medical consequences of sleep deprivation.

OSA can lead to severe fatigue at best and sudden death at worst. If you think you have this disorder, you must seek treatment from a medical professional.

According to various scientific studies:

  • An individual with untreated ‘obstructive sleep apnoea’ (OSA) is up to 4 times more likely to have a stroke and 3 times more likely to have heart disease. (National Sleep Foundation).

  • Patients with untreated apnoea run a 3% risk of stroke and heart attack. Treatment with CPAP was found to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke by 20% (The Lancet 2002; 359: 204-210)

  • About one half of patients who have essential hypertension (high blood pressure) have obstructive sleep apnoea, and about one half of patients who have obstructive sleep apnoea have essential hypertension. (Am Fam Physician 2002;65:229-36)

  • People suffering from sleep apnoea are six times more likely to be involved in a car crash (as a result of drowsiness) than those without sleep disorders. (New England Journal of Medicine, March 18, 1999)

The good news is snoring and apnoea can be treated.  Inexpensively.  And effectively.  Call us today for a free, no-obligation discussion about your situation (this consultation would normally be charged at $35, so call before we are fully booked.  Phone 1300 246 637 today.

Tags: snoring, health facts, apnoea, apnea

Snoring Leads To Weight Gain

Posted on Tue, Jul 05, 2011

Overweight people are known to be more likely to suffer from a sleep disordered breathing (SDB) condition because of the build up of fatty deposits in the soft tissue of the tongue, soft palate and pharyngeal walls.  The enlarged tissues encroach on the upper airway, causing restriction or blockages. 

But it is NOT just a matter of ‘Fat people snore.”  More and more research is pointing to the fact that “Snoring people get fat.”

 Worse still, there is clear evidence that sleep disordered breathing is a significant contributor to hypertension (high blood pressure) and type 2 diabetes.

In one extremely well written paper, by Dr Ralph Pascualy of the Swedish Sleep Medicine Institute, the link between the conditions is explained thus:

 “…several clear relationships have been shown between sleep deprivation and metabolic abnormalities.  Sleep debt strongly affects glucose utilization as well as circadian cycles of thyrotropin, cortisol, growth hormone, and other physiological variables.   

Sleep debt alone is reported to result in impaired glucose effectiveness similar to that found in non-insulin-dependent diabetics.  Severe OSA significantly influences plasma insulin and glycemia and may increase the risk of diabetes independently of obesity. Not all OSA patients are obese; however, insulin resistance is found in both obese and non-obese OSA patients. Blood pressure and fasting insulin correlate closely with both BMI and the severity of OSA. Thus, both the sleep debt and the sympathetic activation that accompany OSA may speed the deterioration of glucose tolerance. Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia lead to further sympathetic activation, thus completing the circle of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and the related metabolic abnormalities.”

In simple terms:  sleep disordered breathing leads to reduced blood oxygen levels and increased blood pressure.  As a result, the body’s metabolism is retarded – which makes it easier to gain weight, and harder to lose it.

Failure to treat a sleep disordered breathing condition puts a sufferer on a downward spiral — because the SDB leads to weight gain, which makes the SDB worse, which makes the weight gain worse … and so on. 

The full article is available in the ‘Research’ section of this website.

Tags: snoring, OSA, weight gain

It's Only Snoring!

Posted on Fri, Jun 03, 2011

Snoring might be common, but it is NOT normal.  Snoring is NOT something you should ignore. The simple fact of the matter is that snoring is a loud, clear signal that the airflow is impaired.  There is no worse time for this to be happening than when the patient is asleep and consequently unaware of it.

What Would You Do If You Saw Someone Snoring While Awake?

Think seriously about this:  If you saw someone who was conscious and awake, yet they were breathing like a snorer does ... you'd immediately think something was wrong.  Yet when we see a person breathing like a snoring while asleep, we tend to ignore it.

Sheer folly.  Healthy sleepers do not snore.  Healthy breathers do not snore.  If you snore, or know someone who does, seek help to determine the cause, nature and severity of the condition.  More often than not, serious and habitual snoring is actually a sign of a more serious underlying sleep disorder, such as sleep apnoea (where the patient literally stops breathing while asleep), 

Snoring is SERIOUS.  Treat it, don't tolerate it.  The difference it will make to your energy levels, metabolism, cognitive functions and much more are simply phenomenal -- and best of all, most of the cost of getting a diagnostic sleep study is covered by medicare. 

For more information, call today on 1300 246 637 or complete the 'Contact Us' form on our contat page. 



Tags: snoring, Sleep studies, sleep study

Snoring And Heart Disease

Posted on Tue, May 31, 2011

Snoring has been found to be a predictor of Ischaemic Heart Disease and stroke, according to the results of a detailed study of over 4,300 middle aged men,

The researchers say there is a clear link between snoring, sleep apnoea and arterial hypertension.

During sleep, patients with apnoea often develop hypoxaemia (reduced blood oxygen levels) and hypercapnia (heightened carbon dioxide levels). In severe cases the blood oxygen saturation may fall below 70%.  When performing polysomnograms (diagnostic sleep studies) on patients, we have even seen patients with blood oxygen saturation levels of less than 60%.

The cardiac index decreases during an apnoeic episode and increases appreciably at the resumption of ventilation, when the pulmonary and systemic arterial pressure increase temporarily, straining the heart, especially the right side.

Snoring is common, but it is not 'normal'.  If you snore, or know someone who does, consider the snoring to be a loud clear indicator that something is wrong with the airflow while sleeping.  Get treatment for the condition, rather than tolerating it.

Full details of the study can be found here.

Tags: snoring, stroke, heart disease

Snoring Causes Weight Gain

Posted on Thu, May 19, 2011

Overweight people are known to be more likely to suffer from a sleep disordered breathing (SDB) condition because of the build up of fatty deposits in the soft tissue of the tongue, soft palate and pharyngeal walls.  The enlarged tissues encroach on the upper airway, causing restriction or blockages. 

But it is NOT just a matter of ‘Fat people snore.”  More and more research is pointing to the fact that “Snoring people get fat.”

Worse still, there is clear evidence that sleep disordered breathing is a significant contributor to hypertension (high blood pressure) and type 2 diabetes.

In one extremely well written paper, by Dr Ralph Pascualy of the Swedish Sleep Medicine Institute, the link between the conditions is explained thus:

 “…several clear relationships have been shown between sleep deprivation and metabolic abnormalities.  Sleep debt strongly affects glucose utilization as well as circadian cycles of thyrotropin, cortisol, growth hormone, and other physiological variables.   

Sleep debt alone is reported to result in impaired glucose effectiveness similar to that found in non-insulin-dependent diabetics.  Severe OSA significantly influences plasma insulin and glycemia and may increase the risk of diabetes independently of obesity. Not all OSA patients are obese; however, insulin resistance is found in both obese and non-obese OSA patients. Blood pressure and fasting insulin correlate closely with both BMI and the severity of OSA. Thus, both the sleep debt and the sympathetic activation that accompany OSA may speed the deterioration of glucose tolerance. Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia lead to further sympathetic activation, thus completing the circle of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and the related metabolic abnormalities.”

In simple terms:  sleep disordered breathing leads to reduced blood oxygen levels and increased blood pressure.  As a result, the body’s metabolism is retarded – which makes it easier to gain weight, and harder to lose it.

Failure to treat a sleep disordered breathing condition puts a sufferer on a downward spiral — because the SDB leads to weight gain, which makes the SDB worse, which makes the weight gain worse, which makes the SDB worse … and so on. 

The full article is available in the ‘Research’ section of The Sleep Therapy Clinic website at www.SleepTherapyClinic.com

Tags: snoring, weight gain

Snoring And Blood Pressure

Posted on Tue, Apr 19, 2011

A study of the effect of noise on sleep has found that a snoring partner can raise a sleeper’s blood pressure by as much as a low-flying aircraft or a lorry reversing in the street.

Scientists who monitored 140 volunteers in their homes near Heathrow and three other European airports found the noises penetrating the bedroom had the same effect as those emanating from the neighbouring pillow.

Blood Pressure Directly Linked To Noise

Blood pressure went up in direct relation to noise loudness, by 0.66 mm Hg for every five-decibel increase, the researchers say in the European Heart Journal. The type of sound or its origin did not appear to be important. It was only the volume that mattered.

Lars Jarup, an author of the study from Imperial College London, said noise which disrupts sleep is not just an irritation.  It’s also a health risk.  Blood pressure is affected immediately and there is an increased risk of hypertension.

High blood pressure is a known risk factor for stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and dementia.

‘Simple snoring’ is a relatively easy condition to treat, typically done by ‘oral appliance therapy’ (OAT) which involves the custom making of specialised dental devices that sit comfortably in the mouth and hold the lower jaw and connected tissues clear of the airway while asleep. 

For more serious conditions, constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or surgery can alleviate the condition. 

Tags: snoring, blood pressure, hypertension

Snoring Linked To Alzheimers

Posted on Tue, Mar 22, 2011

According to recent research by Professor Chris Peers, people who snore run an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Any form of sleep disordered breathing tends to reduce the blood oxygen level of the sufferer – but Professor Peers’ research found that the lack of oxygen or ‘hypoxic state’ can affect brain cells called astrocytes. These changes allow a chemical neurotransmitters called glutamate to build up. Under normal circumstances, astrocytes mop up glutamate in the brain. However, a lack of oxygen decreased the expression of proteins required by the cells to carry out this task.

Glutamate is toxic if allowed to build up in high levels, so the accumulation could lead to brain cell death, and eventually to the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Tags: snoring, Alzheimers

The Fatal Snore

Posted on Sat, Mar 19, 2011

An article titled ‘The Fatal Snore’ by Kate Robertson of Fairfax Media discusses the case history of Marshall Caliph, nicknamed ‘Foghorn’ by his friends. Apnoea is dangerous

Marshall suffered from sleep apnoea, to the extent that he had crashed his car several times after falling asleep at the wheel.  He had even been known to fall asleep mid sentence.

This appears to be a severe case of sleep apnoea, but as Professor Rob Pierce (the physician who treated Marshall and who was interviewed for the article) says, “One-third of the population snores at some time, at least intermittently, and conventionally it’s been thought snoring is a bit of a joke. But now we know it is a potentially serious medical condition…and we have to treat it seriously because with the epidemic of obesity, it’s becoming more common.”

The article cites the Austin Hospital’s Institute of Breathing & Sleep, which says snoring affects 3 in 5 Australians — a massive 60% of the population.  This is twice the estimated level of prevalence found in previous research.

Some patients with ‘sleep disordered breathing’ conditions such as apnoea stop breathing up to 100-plus times an hour, for at least 10 seconds at a time.  According to Professor Pierce, “These people have incredibly fragmented sleep, which impacts on many aspects of their daytime.  Impaired work performance, mental dysfunction, depression, relationship problems and a greatly enhanced risk of car accidents are just some of the results.  It’s probably a major cost factor in industrial and transport accidents.”

Unfortunately, this list of problems is not exhaustive.  Other conditions clearly linked to sleep disordered breathing include hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, metabolic retardation and consequent obesity, acid reflux, loss of libido, impotence, AD/HD, and even type II diabetes.  In many cases, people suffering from these conditions are actually suffering from an underlying (and often undiagnosed and untreated) sleep disorder.

Once again, the point to note is that snoring is not just an embarrassing or irritating noise.  It is ALWAYS an indication that something is wrong and that a more serious condition exists or is developing.  If you snore, or know someone who does … do something about it.

And take heart!  Treatment for snoring and sleep apnoea is NOT limited to only the surgical or Constant Positive Airway Pressure solutions mentioned in the article.  The Academy of Sleep Medicine now endorses ‘oral appliance therapy’ as first line treatment.  This form of treatment involves the custom fitting of specialised dental devices which sit comfortably inside the mouth and hold the patient’s jaw and connected tissue clear of the airway while they sleep. 

Tags: snoring, apnoea, Snore