Printer Friendly

DYING FOR DYING FOR A A KIP A KIP.

Byline: SAM MALONE

[bar] SLEEP PARALYSIS: "It's where you wake up and cannot move so much so that you're lucky even if you can blink. You're breathing but you just cannot move.

"It's not anything to worry about though as it's a benign condition. It's almost always interrupted by a noise."

[bar] CENTRAL SLEEP APNOEA: "It's slightly different to sleep apnoea in that it's more to do with the brain not sending messages to breathe rather than the throat collapsing.

"People stop breathing but it's the brain shutting down, it can be quite normal but it's more common in people who have had a stroke or heart attack or take certain sedatives or painkillers."

[bar] HYPNOPOMPIC or HYPNAGOGIC HALLUCINATIONS: "This is were people suffer from a kind of hallucination just as they are drifting off to sleep or waking up.

"It's a bit like sleep paralysis in that your brain is waking up but you're still sleeping. Some people think they're falling just as they're falling asleep, others hear loud noises."

[bar] PARASOMONIAS: "Parasomonias can be anything from sleepwalking, sleep talking to actually carrying out their dreams. There was a case not so long ago in West Wales when a man strangled his wife in his caravan because he dreamt he was being burgled."

[bar] EKBOM'S DISEASE (Restless leg syndrome): "The core features are an irresistible urge to move your legs, it gets worse in the evenings, there are often leg pains and this leads to disruptive sleep and resultant sleepiness."

[bar] NARCOLEPSY: "This disease is supposed to be very rare but I think this is because it is actually under diagnosed.

"People with very severe narcolepsy have very severe urges to sleep. They often feel a warning if they're going to fall asleep and one of the treatments is to get people to have targeted naps."

[bar] BRUXISM: "It seems to happen during times of stress. People grind their teeth together and it can lead to quite a bit of pain in the jaw -it's also quite a disturbance for someone's sleeping partner."

[bar] SEXSOMINA: "It's not something I've seen but I've watched documentaries on it and it seems to be a complicated parasomina in which people again act out their (sexual) dreams."

Obesity can cause sleep problems - sometimes with fatal consequences WALES is facing a huge epidemic in obesity-related sleep disorders, one of the country's leading sleep doctors has warned.

As waistlines continue to grow across the nation, medics are increasingly struggling to cope with the sheer volume of overweight patients needing treatment for disorders caused by their size.

Dr Keir Lewis, a consultant at Prince Phillip Hospital, Llanelli, and head of the sleep service for Hywel Da Health Board, said the number of people suffering from conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) has risen dramatically in the past 10 years - putting severe strain on the NHS.

Dr Lewis, who is also a Reader in Respiratory Medicine at Swansea School of Medicine, said: "If we go back 10 years OSA wasn't really recognised but now it's become a huge epidemic.

"The most quoted study into the prevalence of OSA took place in America in 1993 looking at an office workforce of about 6,000 people. They found about 3% of adults suffered from it and that's a long time ago.

"People have got much fatter since then and 4% is certainly an underestimate.

"We think about 80% of people who suffer from OSA are still undiagnosed and even the 10% to 20% who get diagnosed take about eight to 10 years from onset of symptoms to eventual treatment.

"Because it is a gradual condition people don't necessarily realise why they are feeling like they do and blame age."

OSA is where the muscles holding the throat open start to relax in deeper sleep and the upper airway closes, stopping breathing. The fall in oxygen in the blood makes the brain wake to ensure the throat muscles open and the person does not suffocate.

Dr Lewis, who has been head of the sleep service for the past eight years, said one of the major problems faced and posed by OSA suffers was their fitness to drive.

He said: "We know from US-Canadian insurance claims and driving simulators that untreated people with OSA are five to seven times more likely to suffer a road crash.

"It's one of the few conditions that kills people other than the sufferer.

"I've had someone coming in with severe symptoms of OSA but didn't realise it until the police were called when someone spotted him driving straight across a roundabout.

"When we monitored his sleeping he was actually stopping breathing 140 times in an hour.

"I also had a man fall asleep while he was operating a crane and it was only when he fell out and landed in water did he wake up and realised how severe his problem was.

"And we have treated other people who have fallen asleep behind the joystick of a plane and someone who fell asleep pouring molten metal.

"It was when he was on the burns unit, that the staff noted him stopping breathing."

Employing the emergency services to a fatal road accident on a motorway costs taxpayers about pounds 250,000 - the amount Dr Lewis said is enough to run an OSA service for a year.

Yet treating OSA sufferers is simple and quick.

"Treating OSA is one of the most simple and gratifying things to do in medicine," Dr Lewis said. "Since as far back as 1982, the best treatment

is using a machine called a CPAP [Continuous Positive Airways Pressure] to blow normal room air under slight pressure into the nose and/or mouth to 'splint' open the upper airway and allow deep continuous breathing throughout sleep.

"The CPAP machine can literally transform people's lives overnight.

"Those established on CPAP have much better quality of life, better blood pressure control and are at no increased risk of road traffic accidents than the normal population."

SYMPTOMS MOST people with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) snore loudly. Their breathing may be noisy and laboured and it is often interrupted by gasping and snorting with each episode of apnoea.

If you have OSA, you may have no memory of your interrupted breathing during the night but when you do wake up you are likely to feel as though you have not had a good night's sleep.

Symptoms of OSA include: [bar] feeling very sleepy during the day [bar] waking up with a sore or dry throat [bar] poor memory and concentration [bar] headaches (particularly in the morning) [bar] irritability and a short temper [bar] anxiety [bar] depression [bar] lack of interest in sex in men and in some cases impotence.

Some people with OSA may also wake up frequently during the night to urinate.

GARETH'S STORY GARETH Cornfield knew there was something wrong when he was drinking 12 cups of coffee a day just to stay awake.

But little did he realise how simple it was to overcome his tiredness.

Once doctors at Prince Phillip hospital in Llanelli diagnosed the 48-year-old retired nurse with sleep apnoea his troubles were literally solved overnight.

"I've always had sleep issues," said Gareth, pictured.

"I've always snored badly and I've always had reports from my wife that I stopped breathing in the middle of the night.

"My wife would look at me saying 'breathe, breathe' and the suddenly I'd gasp and take a huge breath.

"I was never really aware of how I was sleeping but the difficulty I was having was that I was never waking up feeling refreshed.

"I was always feeling tired and as a result of the that I was drinking 10 to 12 cups of coffee a day.

"That then posed it's own problems as I was wired from the coffee so I had difficulty getting to sleep - it was a vicious circle.

"I had to give up work a while ago because I also have terrible back problems.

"I would fall asleep on the sofa quite regularly and I even fell asleep at a Scarlets match much to the amusement of all the fans around me.

"I wouldn't say I've fallen asleep driving but I definitely had what I call long blinks.

"When I went to the sleep clinic they told me it was probably apnoea and they gave me some equipment to take home to monitor my sleeping.

"When I took it back the next day they told me I stopped breathing 83 times an hour - the longest period I stopped was for 45 seconds.

"The sent me away with a little mask to sleep with which pumps oxygen into my lungs and from day one I woke up feeling completely refreshed.

"I now only drink one or two cups of coffee a day and I feel completely normal."
COPYRIGHT 2011 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 23, 2011
Words:1475
Previous Article:Centre's success hurting neighbours.
Next Article:BEATEN, BUT A NATION STANDS UNITED AS ONE.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters