British Lung Foundation and Philips Respironics to raise awareness of obstructive sleep apnoea
11 April 2011
UK charity, The British Lung Foundation and Philips Respironics, have partnered to create a three year programme that aims to raise public awareness and improve diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
In the UK it is estimated that over one million people may be suffering from OSA, with prevalence being higher in men and those that are overweight.
To date only 10% of sufferers are aware of their condition and are being treated to alleviate their symptoms. Obstructive sleep apnoea is a disorder that is characterised by the airway collapsing (behind the tongue) during sleep, which stops breathing. This can result in snoring, laboured breathing, gasping and choking. The collapsing of the airway is followed by attempts to breathe leading to a fitful and restless night’s sleep. If untreated, it can contribute to the development of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.
The three year partnership between Philips Respironics and The British Lung Foundation will begin with a research programme to uncover issues and opportunities to improve the awareness of OSA and diagnosis channels and treatment for patients.
The research will form the backbone of discussions of the advisory panel who will lobby the findings onto the health agendas throughout the UK. This activity will be coupled with a communications programme where the latest educational materials about OSA will be developed for both healthcare providers and the public. The activity will culminate in pilot OSA testing events throughout the country.
Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive, British Lung Foundation, said: "Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) doesn't just affect your health; the interrupted sleep reduces your ability to work and leaves people at risk of accidents and in danger of falling asleep throughout the day. Many thousands of people suffer from this condition yet few people are diagnosed.
"The British Lung Foundation will be carrying out a range of activities over the next few years to raise awareness of OSA and the help that's on offer. We will also be gathering information about the patient pathway to drive improvements. We're delighted to be working in this area of health as it has been an ambition of ours for some time"
Darren Umbers, Regional Director, Philips Respironics UK, said, “OSA can be easily and effectively treated using a simple Continuous Positive Airway Press (CPAP) device, which can greatly improve the health and well-being of patient’s lives. However, sleep disorders do not always get the recognition they deserve as a major public health issue. In partnering with The British Lung Foundation, our aim is to show the serious side of sleep and help many undiagnosed suffers in the UK.”