An online survey conducted by the Sleeping Disorders Centre has found that almost three quarters of respondents were at a high risk of suffering from sleep apnoea. Half of the 52 respondents were classified as obese (with a BMI over 35), a key indicator of risk, 69.2% said that they snored loudly, and 92.2% complained of feeling tired during the daytime. 55.8% of all respondents to the survey were men, who traditionally have a higher risk level than women, although recent evidence suggests this gap is closing.
Michael Oko, consultant ENT surgeon, and Sleeping Disorders Centre founder, said:
“Sleep apnoea prevents people from getting a good night’s sleep by preventing air getting to the lungs. This leads to tiredness and irritability, and marital problems, and can also contribute to serious illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Once people are aware they are suffering from the condition there are various treatments that can help them to overcome it, the most common being wearing a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask at night.”
Mr Oko, who recently appeared as an expert on a BBC1 programme about sleeping disorders “Goodnight Britain”, actively campaigns to raise awareness of sleep apnoea and writes a regular blog on the subject. He will be addressing the 10th Middle East Update in Otolaryngology in Dubai on 21st April 2013. He added:
“Almost all the survey respondents felt tired during the day, and must have suspected a sleeping disorder to have visited the site and completed the survey. I hope that more and more people will take this test and get help if they need it, as the survey shows; if you think you may have a sleeping disorder, the chances are that you do.”
Visitors to the Sleeping Disorders Centre website were asked to complete the STOP-BANG questionnaire, a set of eight questions regarded as the most accurate means of indicating a person’s level of risk of suffering from sleep apnoea from a self-conducted survey. Answering yes to three or more of the eight questions (measuring BMI, age, sex, neck size, snoring, fatigue, blood pressure, and observed apnoeas) indicates a high risk and that the person should visit their GP or go to a sleep clinic for an assessment.