An award-winning NHS service to help patients with diagnosis and management of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is opening at Hampton Hill Medical Centre (TW12 1NY) on 12 September.
OSA is caused by an obstruction blocking the airway of the throat so that the air cannot reach the lungs, leaving the sufferer gasping for breath. Men are three times more likely to have the condition, which affects around 1.5 million adults in the UK. If left untreated, OSA can cause heart disease, hypertension, stroke and exacerbate diabetes.
Symptoms of OSA may include:
- breath holding/struggling to breath at night (apnoea)
- very loud snoring
- daytime fatigue and drowsiness
- short-term memory loss
- multiple trips to urinate through the night
- early morning headaches
- loss of interest in sex
Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has commissioned a community based OSA service, which is available to people who have been referred by their GP. It is one of the first of its kind in the country and allows patients to be assessed and monitored in the comfort of their own home.
The service has been developed in partnership with consultant ear, nose and throat surgeons and Department of Health OSA advisors, Professor Ram Dhillon and Mr Michael Oko.
Dr Graham Lewis, local GP and chair of Richmond CCG, said: “For some people who snore, the cause will be OSA. It is a common, treatable condition, but many people don’t know they have it and require diagnosis. It is important to make an appointment to see your GP if you have any symptoms.”
The service allows many of the patients with suspected OSA or those with established OSA to be diagnosed and monitored in their own bed, without having to spend a night away from home.
Dr Lewis continues: “The good news is that we can help 80% of patients manage the condition at home, without the need for surgery. This could be anything from lifestyle changes to state-of-the-art technology which enables us to track the progress of a patient at the touch of a button.
“We are very pleased to be offering this innovative service for people living in the borough of Richmond who have suspected obstructive sleep apnoea.”