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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Snoring and Sleep Disorders: A Dental Approach to a Major Public Health Issue

The Cycle of Obstructive Sleep Apnea - OSA

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From the 19 April 2011 Science Daily item

ScienceDaily (Apr. 19, 2011) — Over seven million people in Spain are at risk of developing sleep apnoea (SA), a health problem caused by obstructed air intake during sleep. The disorder has become a common issue in public health, affecting patients’ quality of life and potentially leading to hypertension, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders, as well as increasing the likelihood of traffic, workplace and domestic accidents with personal, financial and healthcare repercussions. In children, SA is often associated with learning difficulties and behavioural and attention disorders.

Almost two million people in Spain show symptoms of SA requiring treatment, but only 5% are conclusively diagnosed….

…Excess weight, alcohol consumption, smoking, polymedication, nasal obstruction, menopause and unhealthy lifestyle habits in general have a negative impact on health and the sleep cycle. “As healthcare professionals, our obligation is to encourage people to correct habits that are harmful to their health to improve sleep hygiene and quality of life. We must use our knowledge to guarantee effective medical treatment for patients. Professionals with responsibility for the health and safety of others, such as ourselves, or chauffeurs and pilots, for example, know that our work is helping to save lives and to save companies money,” says Maribel Pascual. As Eva Willaert explains, “In the case of snoring, the model has changed completely: before we thought it was a sign of sleeping well, but snoring can be the first sign of respiratory difficulties during sleep. Statistics show that 60% of men over 50 and 40% of women in the same age group snore. Not everyone that snores develops SA, but snoring can lead to other health conditions and it is always worth reviewing clinical histories.”…

…The most common treatment for snoring and SA until recently was continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), administered using a device consisting of a nose piece or full mask that supplies a constant air pressure during sleep. A newer alternative, the mandibular advancement device (MAD), alters certain characteristics of the upper airways, leading to improvements in people affected by snoring and by mild and moderate cases of SA, making it the preferred treatment option for both disorders….

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided byUniversidad de Barcelona, via AlphaGalileo.

April 20, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , ,

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