Snoring

Snoring is not only a social nuisance, it can be a symptom of a more serious underlying problem.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a highly prevalent condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Snoring is a symptom but more worrying is the fact that many stop breathing (apnoea) during sleep because of upper airway obstruction. This results in increased likelihood of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, daytime sleepiness, motor vehicle accidents, and diminished quality of life.

In the United States, symptomatic obstructive sleep apnoea is estimated to affect 1 in 4 men and 1 in 9 women. Of those, approximately 12 million suffer from moderate or severe OSA. In Australia a similar percentage of the population has moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnoea, affecting approximately 500,000 people. However, it is estimated that only 10% to 20% of OSA sufferers have been diagnosed and treated. Growing patient awareness and physician training are rapidly increasing the pool of diagnosed patients, which is estimated to be growing at a rate of 15% per year. In addition, the obesity epidemic and the aging population are both contributing to an increasing patient base which is currently growing at about 1% per year.

Obesity is also a growing problem in Singapore and a local study showed a very high incidence of obstructive sleep apnoea in obese patients. Almost half had moderate and another third had severe OSA. While no prevalence studies have been carried out, it has been estimated that OSA affects about 15% of our population and this percentage is likely to grow.

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