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Philips raises awareness on sleep disorders

MANILA, Philippines—People have always been reminded about the crucial benefits of getting enough sleep, of how integral it is to the way one thinks and functions, and how it aids in maintaining one’s well being.

Unfortunately, today’s fast paced lifestyle and undue stress, among other factors, are making it far more difficult for one to get the much-needed “restorative sleep,” the lack of which may actually be life threatening in the long run. Others simply cite being a “poor sleeper” for not being able to get a good night’s sleep.

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At times, however, the inability to sleep may already be due to sleeping disorders, particularly the so-called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), said Philips in a recent briefing that it held as part of the World Sleep Day celebration.

While OSA has undeniably become more prevalent in recent years, it is alarming to note that most people who have it were unaware that they have this condition, despite glaring symptoms that are often ignored.

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In the Philippines there is an estimated 4 to 6 percent of the Filipino population who might have OSA, said Dr. Michael Alexius Sarte, president of the Philippine Society of Sleep Medicine and unit head of the Center for Snoring and Sleep Disorder at the Medical City. Perhaps, a few others more may already be suffering OSA as well without even knowing it.

Globally, OSA affects approximately 4 percent of the adult population, Sarte added.

A condition usually associated with loud, disruptive snoring, OSA is a disorder characterized by a reduction or pause of breathing during sleep. This pause-breathing can last for 10 seconds to more than a minute and has a drop in oxygen associated with each event. Most people who have OSA are not even aware that their breathing stops in the night.

Aside from snoring, other possible symptoms are extreme daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, mood swings, not being able to concentrate with work, dry throat when waking up and frequent urination at night.

When left untreated, OSA can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and diabetes. It can also increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents.

A perfect example was the case of actor, TV host and public servant, Edu Manzano, who shared that it was only after three driving accidents that almost cost him his life, that he realized something was wrong and that he needed to consult a doctor.

“I was prone to falling asleep at anytime of the day that one time I found myself in a road accident because I fell asleep while driving,” Manzano explained. In July 2004, Manzano was diagnosed to have OSA. It was explained that during those times he would fall asleep on unlikely occasions, his brain received only 74 percent of the oxygen it needed as against the normal 94-percent requirement.

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Although more common in men who are overweight, Sarte also added that almost anyone can have OSA, including women and children.

In fact, he said, snoring in children shouldn’t be ignored because it may already be a sign that the child is suffering from OSA. When ignored, a child may suffer other side effects like lack of concentration, hyperactivity and decline in IQ.

Recognizing the need to educate the people about OSA and its harmful effects, Philips has forged a partnership with the Philippine Society of Sleep Medicine and the Medical City.

Commenting on the partnership with Philips, Sarte noted that this was “an inspiring development and we are one with Philips in their objective to raise awareness about OSA and correct the impression that snoring is not part of the Filipino sleeping habit.”

As part of its advocacy, Philips has also launched an online portal that will provide the public with information on OSA (its symptoms, health risks, self-assessment Sleep Test). Philips is also organizing quarterly awareness talks for primary physicians that would cover topics concerning the classic symptoms of OSA patients, OSA in children and how to screen OSA patients.

“As a global leader in the management of sleep disorders, Philips innovates to find meaningful solutions that improve the health and well-being of people around the world, and has developed a wide range of products and solutions—from diagnostic tools to patient-centered sleep therapy devices—to help enhance the quality of sleep,” Philips officials said.

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