Sleep Apnoae by sdfsb346f


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									Disturbed sleep can be bad for your health
Tuesday 10 March 2009

Sleep Apnoea affects four per cent of middle-aged men and two per cent of middle-aged
women, yet it is still a condition which goes largely unrecognised. Diagnosed patients from
across Essex had to travel to London for treatment, until the Sleep Apnoea Team started
work at Basildon University Hospital.

Sleep Apnoea causes the patient to repeatedly stop breathing while they are asleep, because
their airway collapses. The brain senses the lack of air going into the lungs and rouses the
patient, more than 30 times an hour in some cases. Although the patient often does not
remember waking, they normally feel tired and sleepy the next day. This sleepiness can then
affect the patient’s ability to carry out day to day tasks, such as driving, talking or eating.

Headed up by Dr Johnson Samuel, Consultant Respiratory Physician, the Sleep Apnoea
team is run by Basharet Ibrahim, Respiratory Physiology Manager and Chengetai Mabuto,
Sleep Nurse, who are based in The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre. They assess patients for
sleep apnoea and once diagnosed, provide them with Continuous Positive Airways Pressure
(CPAP) machine. The patient sleeps with a mask over their nose and mouth and the CPAP
machine gives continuous airflow which props up the windpipe so it doesn’t collapse.

Dr Samuel said: “We now have over 120 patients who have been diagnosed with the
condition over the last six months and who are on the CPAP machine. The number of patients

Issued by: Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Communications Office
Tel: Pat Trinnaman/ Luenne Featherstone/Nicola Fenn 0845 155 3111 ext
being referred and treated has significantly increased and we expect to treat about 250
patients this year.”

Mr Ibrahim, adds: “Every day a patient is being sent home with a machine. It is something
which is very simple but makes such a great difference to the patient in terms of extra energy
and purely functioning on a day-to-day basis.”

One couple who have benefited is Pete and Julie Hewitt. Pete, 55, from Aveley, was the first
patient to walk out of Basildon University Hospital with a CPAP machine after being
diagnosed with severe sleep apnoea by Dr Samuels in August 2008. He said: “It’s hard to
explain what sleep apnoea is like, you just get a feeling of tiredness come over you and you
can’t fight it. You are going to sleep no matter what, even if you have only been awake for a
couple of hours. It is a frightening feeling because you have no control and you don’t know
what’s happening.”

Seeing the positive effect it had on her husband, Julie, 48, got a referral from her GP. Always
yawning, her friends and family used to tease her about not being able to stay up past
7.30pm. She said: “The whole unit here is fantastic. I was so impressed with how quickly they
deal with appointments, problems and questions. I used to have to drink double espressos
just to get through the day. Now I have so much more energy. I rush around all day and at
9pm I’m still wide awake.”

For Sharon Bell, 47, the consequences of having sleep apnoea were much more devastating.
Falling asleep at work, she lost her job, had her home repossessed and lost all confidence in
herself. Now living in a caravan in Clacton-on-Sea, her nightmare first started several years
ago when she kept falling asleep while working as a carer doing night shifts. Her employers
suspended her, before offering her a pay-out to leave. But without earning any money, her flat
in Corringham was repossessed.

She said: “I had to have a roof over my head so I moved into my caravan. I was diagnosed
with severe sleep apnoea about two and a half years ago and I was given a CPAP mask to
use, but I couldn’t get on with it at all. Now I’m attending the Sleep Apnoea Clinic, I’ve tried
lots of different masks and I have been trying to get used to it. Last year was a bad year but
thanks to everyone at the clinic, I am definitely starting to see a positive effect from the
treatment and I’m hoping this year will be much better.”

Issued by: Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Communications Office
Tel: Pat Trinnaman/ Luenne Featherstone/Nicola Fenn 0845 155 3111 ext

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