Research shows increasing number of snorers at risk of a life-threatening sleep disorder.
Nearly four-fifths of people in the UK say they snore.
Men under-report their snoring – according to their partners.
Nearly half of over 45s, those most at risk of sleep apnoea, snore.
New research suggests that people in the UK could unknowingly be affected by sleep apnoea; a serious disorder which obstructs breathing during sleep, after nearly four-fifths of people admitted to snoring, a tell-tale symptom of the condition.
A survey undertaken by SoClean, the company that invented the world’s first automated CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) cleaner and sanitiser for people with sleep apnoea, found that 79% of people say they snore, with 22% of those admitting to doing so ‘often’. More concerning, 43% of those aged over 45, the age group most likely to be affected by sleep apnoea, said they snored.
The most common type of sleep apnoea is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) which affects 3.9 million people in the UK.[i] OSA occurs when the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, causing breathing to stop and start throughout the night, leading to a person intermittently waking for a short period of time.[ii]Stopping breathing whilst asleep leads to a reduction in oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide levels, increasing both blood pressure and heart rate which is associated with increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. The condition can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, anxiety and depression as well as road accident risk.[i] It is estimated that 85% of people with OSA are currently undiagnosed.[iii]
“Sleep apnoea affects up to 4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women in the UK” according to Dr John O’Reilly, Consultant in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine in Liverpool. “Only about a quarter of people with OSA have been diagnosed and only about half of patients diagnosed have been able to access treatment. Untreated OSA syndrome is estimated to cost the NHS £432 million a year.”
People with undiagnosed OSA will often feel fatigued or extremely tired during the day, however symptoms such as loud snoring, laboured breathing or gasping are commonly first spotted by a partner, friend or family member who notices the signs while the person is asleep.[i] Interestingly, the survey results showed that 79% of men believed they snored, whereas 90% of women claimed their partners snored and 58% did so regularly. This suggests that men, who are most likely to suffer from OSA, underestimate how often they snore and potentially display signs of the condition.
Obstructive sleep apnoea is the result of numerous factors including being male, although it is not uncommon in women, aged 40 and above, even younger people can develop it, if they have an unusual inner neck structure or are overweight.[i] In fact, the rates of sleep apnoea are expected to rise due to an ageing population and rising rates of obesity.[iv] Findings from the survey found that regions in England which reported the greatest frequency of snoring; the North East (85%) and West Midlands (84%), were also the regions with the highest prevalence of obesity according to data from Public Health England.[v] This suggests there may be a correlation between obesity and snoring as a possible indicator of sleep apnoea prevalence.
Patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea will often be prescribed CPAP therapy by a respiratory or sleep specialist. CPAP machines deliver a continuous supply of compressed air via a mask which help people with OSA breathe normally during the night. According to Dr John O’Reilly, “CPAP machines are an effective treatment for the condition and treatment has been shown to reduce mortality by 25% as well as a 46% risk reduction in cardiovascular events and a 49% risk reduction in stroke.[vi] Road accident risk is also reduced by 83%.[vii]”
Without regular cleaning, CPAP machines can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which is not only unpleasant, but could also have a more serious effect on patients’ health. Poor cleaning of CPAP machines has been linked to irritation and respiratory infections, including pneumonia.[viii] A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that sleep apnoea sufferers who used CPAP machines had a 20% higher risk of developing pneumonia than those who didn’t. The study suggests that effective cleaning of all elements of CPAP equipment, including the tubing and humidifier, is essential to reduce the build-up of bacteria and germs, which could lead to infections like pneumonia.[ix]
Over a quarter of sleep apnoea patients surveyed do not clean their CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines regularly[x], which can lead to the masks and machines harbouring bacteria and germs. Regular cleaning of the mask, hose and reservoir is necessary to avoid any build-up of bacteria. Sanitisers such as SoClean kill 99.9% of CPAP germs using activated oxygen for effective and complete sanitisation even in hard-to-reach areas.[xi]
SoClean Inc. is the creator of the world’s first automated CPAP cleaner and sanitiser, an innovative device that naturally sanitises CPAP equipment without the need for disassembly, water or harsh chemicals. It’s the safer, healthier way to breathe cleaner and have a better CPAP experience. For more information, visit http://www.soclean.com/uk/ or https://www.facebook.com/SoCleanUK/.
Robert Wilkins, CEO of SoClean comments: “SoClean is expanding globally and we want to change lives around the world and help educate CPAP patients on the benefits of our industry-leading sanitising device.”
[i] Sleep Apnoea Trust. Sleep Apnoea – Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.sleep-apnoea-trust.org/sleep-apnoea-information-patients/sleep-apnoea-frequently-asked-questions/. (Accessed April 2019)
[ii] NHS. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obstructive-sleep-apnoea/treatment/. (Accessed April 2019)
[iii] British Lung Foundation. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Toolkit for commissioning and planning local NHS services in the UK 2015. https://www.blf.org.uk/sites/default/files/OSA_Toolkit_2015_BLF_0.pdf April 2019)
[iv] Steier J, Martin A, Harris J, et al Predicted relative prevalence estimates for obstructive sleep apnoea and the associated healthcare provision across the UK Thorax 2014;69:390-392.
[v] Public Health England. Public Health Profiles. https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/search/obesity#page/3/gid/1/pat/15/par/E92000001/ati/6/are/E12000004/iid/90319/age/200/sex/4. (Accessed April 2019).
[vi] British Lung Foundation. OSA: the experts’ viewpoint CONFERENCE REPORT February 1st, 2014 Blackpool Hilton Hotel. https://www.blf.org.uk/sites/default/files/BLF-OSA-conference-February-2014.pdf (Accessed April 2019).
[vii] National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Continuous positive airway pressure for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta139/chapter/4-Evidence-and-interpretation April 2019).
[viii] Advance Healthcare Network. CPAP Therapy Means Higher Pneumonia Risk. Available from: http://respiratory-care-sleep-medicine.advanceweb.com/News/Daily-News-Watch/CPAP-Therapy-Means-Higher-Pneumonia-Risk.aspx (Accessed April 2019)
[ix] Su VY, Liu CJ, Wang HK, et al. Sleep apnea and risk of pneumonia: a nationwide population-based study. CMAJ. 2014;186(6):415-21.
[x] CWT research on behalf of SoClean conducted January 2019
[xi] SoClean. SoClean UK. https://www.soclean.com/uk/soclean-faq/#section4. (Accessed April 2019).