Individuals who believe they are suffering from the disruptive
and debilitating condition sleep apnoea may benefit from the use of
home testing kits, an expert has claimed.
Many people across the UK suffer from sleep apnoea but they may
not be aware of the fact and as such, Dr Christopher Hanning,
chairman of the Intus Healthcare medical advisory board, has argued
taking the time to set up a home test for individuals in at-risk
groups can be highly beneficial to their long-term health.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) affects approximately four and ten
per cent of the population, depending upon the criteria that is
used for diagnosis, with the condition having a significant impact
on an individual's health.
A higher risk of increased blood pressure, heart, disease, stroke
and diabetes are just some of the conditions associated with OSA.
Therefore, ensuring people who may be at risk are definitively
tested can only be a good thing.
Brits who feel they may have the condition can sleep in their own
beds when carrying out tests at home
and the equipment needed to run the exam can be easily set up away
from medical centres, so as not to artificially disrupt a person's
Dr Hanning noted that it is easy to use and there is often
professional help that can ensure individuals are carrying out
In order to carry out a test, the patient will simply attend a
sleep lab, collect the equipment, go home, run the test and then
return to the medical centre the following day to discuss the
"All patients who undergo home testing should discuss the results
with their GP if only to let him or her know. In my experience,
most home testing companies are fully competent at interpreting the
results of sleep studies. Many, including Intus, retain an expert
sleep physician to advise on difficult cases," he commented.
Dr Hanning added that some of the biggest challenges presently
facing the effective treatment of sleep apnoea in the UK include
"the numbers of patients with the condition and the relative lack
of expert centres which are not evenly distributed across the
"They will attend later for a report and treatment. The equipment
is simple to use and robust. The use of commercial enterprises to
help fill gaps in NHS provision is thus entirely sensible and
practical," he noted.
At present, pressure on NHS budgets is increasing waiting times
for those looking to be diagnosed for conditions such as OSA, while
an increasing number of obese individuals across the country is
serving to push up the number of Brits who are at risk of
developing the condition.
Meanwhile, research carried out by scientists at the University of
Wisconsin in the US revealed a link between the prevalence and
severity of sleep apnoea in patients and the overriding
According to the study's findings, cooler climates promote an
increased likelihood of OSA sufferers having attacks during the
Taking into account the experience of 7,500 individuals over a
ten-year period, the results showed that on average, 18 attacks per
night were recorded by patients at sleep clinics during the winter,
while this figure dropped to 15 in the summer months.
"There are so many things that affect sleep apnoea, including the
decision of when to come visit a sleep clinic," Jerome Dempsey,
lead researcher on the project and author of the report, told
As such, those in at-risk groups are advised to attend during
cooler times of the year, as this is likely to be when their
condition is most severe and therefore the simplest to
Posted by Elizabeth Mewes