As part of the British Lung Foundation’s
and Philips Respironics’ three year programme (begun this year) to raise public awareness and improve diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea
in the UK, the campaign is urging Wales to wake up to the growing problem of sleep apnoea and the huge impact it can have on people’s lives if left untreated. The campaign calls for specialist sleep clinics to be set up in all parts of Wales.
The number of people admitted to hospital as a result of the condition has more than doubled in the last decade and it is estimated around 6% of otherwise healthy adults in Wales suffer from sleep apnoea. Chris Mulholland, head of the British Lung Foundation Wales, said: “Wales needs to wake up to the problem of sleep apnoea. It has a huge impact on people’s lives – not just those with the condition but also their partners and families.
“It can lead to all kinds of other health problems. Plus it massively increases the risk of being involved in a serious car accident
. Sleep apnoea is becoming more widespread in Wales, partly because it is often linked with obesity, which is on the increase. Admissions for the condition have more than doubled in the past decade. But the real problem is that many more people are simply not being diagnosed.
“Specialist sleep services are not available in all parts of Wales. With increasing rates of sleep apnoea, we have to ensure that everyone in Wales who needs access to a sleep service can get it.”
The British Lung Foundation’s Breathe Easy support groups around Wales will hold a series of events this week to highlight the condition.
In the UK it is estimated that over one million people may be suffering from OSA, with prevalence being higher in men and those that are overweight. To date only 10% of sufferers are aware of their condition and are being treated to alleviate their symptoms.