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Sleep Apnea Awareness Day 2020

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 15 April 2020 Australia’s 2nd Annual Sleep Apnea Awareness Day will take place on 5th May 2020 Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most common sleep disorders diagnosed in Australia. 25% of men and 9% of women have OSA however after menopause women to have OSA as men. OSA occurs when a person’s airway repetitively collapses during sleep, meaning that they physically are not able to take air into their lungs due to an obstruction in the upper part of the airway. This disrupts the brains restful nights sleep as it has to constantly work to open up the airway. The brain 'wakes up' but the person may feel they are still asleep. These pauses in breathing also mean that the body does not receive the oxygen it needs to function properly, which can result in an array of other serious health problems.

Classic signs and symptoms of OSA include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

  • Loud snoring

  • Snorting and gasping during sleep

  • Dry mouth and morning headaches

  • Poor concentration and attention

  • Memory problems

  • Irritability

Due to the stress that OSA places on the body it has been found to be associated with a number of other serious medical conditions. If OSA is left untreated, it can result in hypertension, depression, vascular disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and even premature death. It is also associated with a higher incidence of motor vehicle and industrial accidents.

A common misconception is that OSA only affects older, overweight men, but this is not the case. Anyone can have OSA regardless of gender, age or body type. Children can also have OSA. Risk factors for children include enlarged adenoids and tonsils, allergies, asthma, obesity and facial differences such as a small jaw or large tongue. Signs of sleep apnea can also be different to those in adults. Sometimes a child's symptoms can present as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) such as hyperactivity, aggressiveness, learning difficulties and poor concentration. Bed wetting, less growth potential, poor sleep and difficulty waking in the morning are also associated with sleep apnea in children.

Some facts: • OSA is common. 25% of men and 9% of women have OSA however after menopause women are just as likely to have OSA as men. • Only 15% of people with moderate to severe sleep apnea are currently recognised or treated. • People who are overweight (BMI over 25), have a large neck size (>43cm for men, >40 cm for women), are over 40 years old for men, or over 50 for women, have a family history of sleep apnea, are a smoker, or have high blood pressure are at an increased risk of having sleep apnea. • Moderate to severe OSA carries a significantly increased risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease (33% mortality at 15 years). • People with untreated OSA are between two to five times more likely to have a motor vehicle accident than someone without OSA. • Cigarette smoking can worsen OSA in adults. Passive cigarette smoking can increase a child's sleep apnea severity by 20%. • Up to 27% of children snore. This is not normal and should be investigated.

• People with OSA have a high rate of co-morbid illnesses:

- 40-50% have hypertension. - 34% have coronary heart disease.

- 34% have congestive heart failure. - 65% have diabetes. - 50% have kidney disease.

- 80% have fibromyalgia - 84% have nocturnal strokes.

• Treatment can significantly improve quality of life.

It is estimated that as many as 26% of adults aged 30- 70 years have obstructive sleep apnea. Contrary to popular belief, people with sleep apnea come in all shapes and sizes, not all sufferers snore, many are not obese or even overweight, and not all of them are male. Due to COVID19 we will not be able to proceed with the physical events we had planned. We will however take advantage of people being online more with an online campaign including two Facebook live events.Support is your key to successful CPAP therapy” and “Comparison between Mandibular Advancement splint (MAS) and CPAP” on 5th May starting from 5.30pm. Please join us and help raise awareness of this potentially life-threatening sleep disorder. About Sleep Disorders Australia

Sleep Disorders Australia is Australia’s peak patient body for sleep disorders. We provide support and information and we also advocate and raise awareness of sleep disorders and the significance they can have on the lives of those affected by them. -ENDS-

Visit the Sleep Apnea Awareness Day page here


Michelle Chadwick Chairperson Email: Phone: 0405 917 736 Website:

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