The annual National Stop Snoring Week begins on Monday April 28, 2014 and the theme this year will be: Stop snoring – a sensible approach to successful treatment. The aim of the week, as always, is to inform the public about snoring and sleep apnoea and about ways to get help. More than 200 large companies, hospitals, GP surgeries, libraries, health centres and other charities will be participating.
Throughout the week, experts from the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association (BSSAA) will be appearing on local BBC radio stations and in articles across a variety of publications to address the simplest of worries for snorers: “I’ve tried everything, but nothing works”.
Marianne Davey, MSc, director the BSSAA, said: “We will be using National Stop Snoring Week this year to make it clear that there is no single, universal remedy for snoring. We’ll explain how snoring is an individual problem and why different types of snoring need different treatments. And we’ll be commenting on the current recommended clinically proven treatments and revealing – perhaps controversially – the very many popular items that actually have no place in the treatment of snoring.
“We’ll be discussing the importance of finding the cause of the snoring before trying to treat it, how to go about getting the right treatment and how to avoid the pitfalls of buying products that have no value.”
The BSSAA will also be launching its own novel treatment aimed at individuals whose snoring is caused by ‘mouth breathing’: people who sleep and breath with their mouth open, which is perhaps the most common basis for snoring and is not only noisy but also unhealthy, leading to bad breathe, decaying teeth and much more.
Marianne Davey explained: “To stop mouth breathers from snoring it is necessary to keep the mouth from dropping open. There are simple mouth guards already on the market, designed to keep the mouth closed, as well as the Chin Up Strip, a ‘smiley’ shaped micro-pore fabric that fixes around the bottom of the chin to prevent it from dropping open. But the BSSAA is currently trialling a new device with very encouraging results, which we’ll be revealing during National Stop Snoring Week.”
We should never underestimate the impact of the life sciences (like medicine) on the life of our planet and species over the last couple of centuries. Indeed some sources suggest that human life expectancy across the globe rose on average 35 years per person in the twentieth century.
As many readers know I consider Jonas Salk, the person who discovered the polio vaccine and refused to patent it, to be one of the very great figures of the last century. Sadly while politicians seem to get their statues all over the place his vital work goes almost unrecognised.
The scourge of polio (and that is not a cliché) is well on the way to being eradicated across the globe. Here I feel I must pay tribute to the work of Rotary International’s End Polio Now campaign. I’d strongly recommend their web site http://www.endpolio.org/ if you have not already visited it. In the UK in the present century nobody has contracted polio to the best of my knowledge.
However what I was unaware of until recently was the concept of post-polio syndrome. And I was
reminded of it when I re-read a recent interview with Julia Roberts from our blog where she talked about her then recent diagnosis with cancer but also about being a polio survivor. You can read the interview here http://patienttalk.org/?p=131. In it she mentions post-polio syndrome and its impact on her life.
So I thought it would be useful to investigate further. Because while the disease has disappeared in all but a few countries, its effects are still very much with us.
In fact it has been suggested that there may be around half a million people in the USA alone who suffer from post-polio syndrome. So what actually is it?
Around 75% of people who have had polio will go on to suffer from post-polio syndrome (PPS). PPS seems to occur between 10-30 years after the initial polio attack. The symptoms include:-
a) Fatigue – both physical and mental.
b)Muscle and joint pain.
c) Atrophy (weakness) of the muscles. This in turn can lead to difficulties in movement especially walking.
e) Sensitivity to cold.
While this illness is not fatal it can obviously affect a person’s ability to lead a full life.
We would like to take this opportunity to invite people who have PPS to share their story with our readers. This we hope will raise awareness of the condition. Please feel free to use the comments box below to share your PPS journey.
It would be great if you would consider the following questions as part of your contribution:-
a) How old were you when you first contracted polio? How long ago was this?
b)When did you start to suffer from PPS?
c) What were you primary symptoms? How were they treated?
d)Overall what effect did PPS have on your lifestyle?
Please not that this is only a guide. Feel free to contribute anything you think may be of interest.
Sleep Apnea is a common but seemingly ignored condition in the western world. Lagging it seems not far behind Diabetes Type 2 as a medical condition and often with a similar profile of sufferers. In fact between 3-7% of middle aged men and around 2.5% of women of that age have sleep apnea.
So what actually is sleep apnea?
Simply put it is abnormal breathing during sleep. With obstructive sleep apnea (the most common kind) there is physical obstacle impeding breathing during sleep. In many cases this is due to obesity. The net result is, of course, a bad night’s sleep and the person with sleep apnea is unable to get the rest she or he needs.