Sleeping condition a silent killer

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph

A Rockingham pharmacist has warned of a largely undiagnosed “silent killer”, with eight out of 10 individuals not realising they have the condition.

Sleep apnoea is a disorder characterised by shortness of breath or pauses in breathing while a person is asleep, with snoring a side-effect of the condition.

With obesity and diabetes linked to sleep apnoea and the region’s poor health profile in the spotlight again this week, Pharmacy 777’s Maryum Abbas has stressed the importance of taking the condition seriously.

“We consider it a silent killer,” she said.

“When you talk to people about sleep apnoea the general understanding is ‘I’m snoring’.

“Unfortunately snoring is just one of the symptoms of sleep apnoea — what happens is your body actually stops breathing overnight; it puts an incredible amount of pressure on your heart.

“A patient with untreated sleep apnoea, not only are they tired, fatigued and at a higher risk of workplace accidents, they are at a significantly increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.”

Ms Abbas said anyone with concerns over energy levels, fatigue or that had diabetes could have sleep apnoea.

Pharmacy 777 partner with respiratory and sleep physician Dr Sina Keihani to undertake home studies monitoring sleep patterns.

This involves neurological leads from a portable device being attached to the scalp, with the person going to sleep as normal and the apparatus collating results.

Ms Abbas said the sleep study could be bulk billed and anyone that fit the health profile should come forward.

“Eight out of ten individuals that have sleep apnoea are unaware they have it,” she said.

“One of our own pharmacists had a heart attack as a result of sleep apnoea — he was 29.”

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