While it’s surely beneficial that the leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband being diagnosed with sleep apnoea will increase awareness of the condition in the UK, I hope that people don’t get the impression that surgery is the best, or most common, solution. CPAP is the safest and most tried and tested solution to sleep apnoea and is recommended by NICE.
Surgery is not usually a first option for helping Obstructive Sleep Apnoea sufferers and in my practice only about 11% of all patients have surgery. However in some cases, especially children, the cause for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea might be enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Removing them, therefore, removes the problem. Mr Miliband does not seem to be in this category though as the Daily Telegraph reported last week:
“It had long been assumed that he merely had enlarged adenoids – fleshy parts behind the nose that can affect the voice… However on Friday a spokesman denied reports that he was having an adenoidectomy, and instead disclosed that Mr Miliband is suffering from sleep apnoea, a potentially serious condition that affects the breathing while asleep, which is made worse by a problem with the partition in his nose, known as a deviated septum. He will undergo a surgical procedure, most likely one known as a septoplasty, to reshape the cartilage and bone in his nose. This should make his breathing easier and may also make his voice clearer.”