Most sleep apnoea is undiagnosed

GPs need to be more alert to the signs of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), after a UK survey highlighted the high prevalence of symptoms in the population.

The survey by OSA UK, involving 1,729 UK adults aged 25 and over, found that one person in five is affected by OSA. However, only 12 per cent of men and 6 per cent of women with OSA have contacted their GP about it.  

Leading OSA researcher, Professor John Stradling, from the Sleep Unit at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital, said: ‘The problem is that patients are often reluctant to talk to a doctor about snoring or abnormal sleepiness or fatigue in case they are not taken seriously.’  

Berkshire GP, Dr Robert Koefman an ENT specialist, said more awareness about OSA was needed. He added that the condition could lead to heart and lung disease. ‘At the moment treatment is very much a postcode lottery,’ he said.  

‘We need more specialist sleep centres where people can receive the appropriate treatment.’ 

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