BBC One Programme on Sleep Disorders - Goodnight Britain!
- Episode 1
28 November 2012
- Episode 2
29 November 2012
“Good night, sleep tight?” asks patient support group for sleep disorders
Up to 7,500 people in Ireland have a sleep disorder, with tens of thousands more cases undiagnosed
· BBC 1 to air new programme examining the disruptive condition and how it can be treated
· Irish expert on sleep disorders available to discuss the problem
· People should seek help from their GP as treatment options are available
27th November 2012: According to a leading expert on sleep, up to 7,500 people in Ireland are living with a serious medical condition called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). However, EU figures suggest there are tens of thousands of people who would benefit from treatment for sleep disorders. Persons with untreated obstructive sleep apnoea face very serious health risks that encompass a much greater health and work safety risk, far beyond just a sleepless night according to voluntary patient support group the Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust (ISAT).
As the BBC prepares to air a groundbreaking TV programme on sleep disorders, Irish people who have problems sleeping are urged to seek help from their GP at the earliest opportunity as treatment options are available.
Sleep apnoea is a very serious medical condition where the sufferer frequently stops breathing during their sleep. Breathing can stop repeatedly for ten seconds and longer in extreme cases. Untreated sleep apnoea can lead to other medical conditions such as cardiovascular problems, respiratory illnesses and indeed the onset of diabetes,
Although there are up to 7,500 patients diagnosed in Ireland with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), which is the most common form of the condition, EU medical research indicates that somewhere in the region of 95,000 / 105,000 people in Ireland actually suffer from the disorder, ranging from mild to severe.
According to the BBC, Goodnight Britain will tackle the nation’s biggest sleep disorders, meeting and curing some of the UK’s worst sleepers. The new two-part series presented by Sian Williams, and featuring sleep experts Dr Kirstie Anderson and Dr Jason Ellis, will air on Wednesday and Thursday evening (28th and 29th November) on BBC 1.
Awareness of OSA is relatively poor at present in Ireland although it is thought to be as common as adult diabetes. The disorder can be a major source of daytime sleepiness and tiredness, which can be especially lethal in vehicle drivers. While OSA typically affects males between 30 and 50, anyone can suffer from the disorder and people who smoke, drink alcohol or are obese are at a much higher risk.
Dan Smyth, Honorary Secretary General of the Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust and Deputy Chair of Sleep Apnoea Europe, commented:
“The number of people unnecessarily suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea, who through diagnosis, assessment and simple treatment could be brought back into the workforce, is staggering. Treatment will prevent people going on to develop more serious related illnesses such as cardiovascular and respiratory disorders, which in turn will reduce the fiscal burden on the heath service in Ireland.”
He added: “We in the ISAT have previously called on the HSE, the RSA and the Irish Government to take steps to make the people of Ireland and the medical profession more aware of this serious yet treatable medical condition and we are renewing this call. Treatment is cost effective and it is relatively easy to achieve a remedy to the disorder for sufferers and their families. I urge anyone who suffers from a sleep disorder to seek help or to encourage any friends and family who may have the condition to do the same.”
Some of the problems facing people with untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) are:
· Lack of understanding of the condition
· Lack of meaningful support for sufferers
· Work performance and reliability diminish
· Potential danger to themselves and work colleagues vis-a-vis health & safety, especially driving
· Severe reduction in short term memory
· Severe disruption to social and family life
· Real threat to their quality of life
· Possible early death
Current effective treatments for OSA include weight loss, surgery, dental appliances, and breathing assistance devices. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on the type and location of airway obstruction and on the person's overall health.
For further information, or to
speak to an expert on sleep disorders, please contact:
01 293 99 77 / 087 788 7880
About Sleep Apnoea
There are three types of Sleep Apnoea (derived from “Apnea”, a Greek word meaning “without breath”). The most common type of sleep apnoea is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), caused by an obstruction of the patient’s airway. In the USA, nearly fourteen million people suffer from OSA.
During a sufferer’s sleep, the soft tissue in the rear of the throat
collapses and flops closed, resulting in a blockage that prevents normal
breathing. OSA is probably as common as adult diabetes. Untreated
sleep apnoea can lead to other medical conditions such as cardiovascular
problems, respiratory illnesses and indeed the onset of diabetes,
Central sleep apnoea, where part of the brain that controls ones breathing fails to function routinely, and mixed apnoea, a combination of the two, are less common.
There are only a few effective treatments for OSA. They fall into several categories: weight loss, surgery, dental appliances, and a breathing-assistance device. The most popular and most effective is the latter one, the use of a device which delivers air under slight pressure to the airway by way of a nasal mask. There are several types of positive airway pressure devices including, CPAP, Bi-level positive airway pressure, and responsive and ‘smart’ airway pressure devices. They are all variations on CPAP. There is no guaranteed, permanent, device-free cure for apnoea.
The type of treatment prescribed will depend on the type and location of airway obstruction and on the person's overall health. Obstructions can occur anywhere from the nose (deviated septum; swollen nasal passages from allergies), the upper pharynx (enlarged adenoids; long soft palate; large uvula; large tonsils), or the lower pharynx (tongue that is large or situated far back; short jaw; short, wide neck with narrow airway). The location of obstructions varies between individuals, and an individual may have more than one obstruction.
About the Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust (ISAT)
The Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust (ISAT) is a non-political, non-profit
making voluntary patient support group for sufferers of Sleep Apnoea
(and their families).
ISAT was established in May 2000. The initial specific aims of the Trust were to support patients with OSAS and their families, to promote improved facilities for the investigation and management of this disorder, and to support medical research.
Visit www.isat.ie for more information.
About Goodnight Britain
Goodnight Britain will tackle the nation’s biggest sleep disorders, meeting and curing some of the UK’s worst sleepers. The new two-part series presented by Sian Williams, and featuring sleep experts Dr Kirstie Anderson and Dr Jason Ellis, will air on Wednesday and Thursday evening (28th and 29th November) on BBC 1.
The sleep experts will meet five people tormented by a range of conditions, from parasomniacs who scream the house down and snorers whose trumpeting rattles the window-panes, to insomniacs who bake six hours a night. Through the use of high-tech night-vision cameras, the sleep experts will observe the secrets of the patients’ sleep problems first hand and will then devise a treatment plan for each of the people.
Visit BBC One to find out more.