Labour Party leader Ed Miliband’s operation a few weeks ago to cure his Obstructive Sleep Apnoea has raised the awareness of OSA. Intus Healthcare saw a big rise in people enquiring about sleep studies and well as the number of visitors to their OSA-based websites. “Having such a leading figure put Sleep Apnoea on the front pages has raised the awareness of the condition dramatically, if what we have seen is anything to go by” said Intus Healthcare’s Tim Barker.
“As it is estimated around 75% of those with the condition are undiagnosed, it is excellent to see it being brought to the attention of the public and getting more people to get themselves tested for OSA themselves”. However it would appear that Mr Miliband’s operation was not a success which unfortunately comes as little surprise; as many as two thirds of operations to treat OSA are unsuccessful.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea was also in the newspapers this week thanks to Dr Keith’s advice in The Sun on August 18. Dr Keith’s “excellent” advice to those with OSA was to lose weight, and then listed surgery as the first choice treatment – despite the success rate being as low as around 1 in 3 and CPAP being effective in all cases. It is not the first time Dr Keith has shared his views on OSA – back in 2008 he claimed that the way to treat OSA was simply “losing weight and ditching alcoholic nightcaps”.
A recent study also showed that OSA in older women significantly increases the chances of them developing cognitive impairment or dementia than those who sleep normally. OSA has long been linked with an increased risk of heart failure or stroke, and this study now further highlights the risk of leaving OSA untreated. The study was conducted by a team from the University of California led by Dr Kristine Yaffe, and comprised of 300 women with an average age of 82 who did not have dementia. The four year study showed that those diagnosed with OSA were 50% more likely to develop these further health conditions.
Another study at the University of Brescia this month suggested that wearing compression stockings can lower snoring and OSA by a third. There have been studies into the relationship between rostral fluid shift and sleep previously, so the result may not be as surprising as it first appears. However the study was comprised of just twelve patients, all of whom were attending a CVI Clinic rather than a Sleep Clinic which arguable skews the results further. Nonetheless, the findings are interesting and research of a larger, more “natural” sample would make for fascinating reading. A few members of the UK CPAP Forums are currently trialling this method and it will be intriguing to see how they get on.