(02-23-2014 06:47 PM)Sleepster Wrote:
(02-23-2014 11:16 AM)ShelaghDB Wrote: So now that i do understand it all, I have to wonder IF Sleep Apnea has been with us for centuries but just undiagnosed or if it is a new ailment of the Western world....?
It's been around as long as people have been around, probably even longer.
Without treatment we live a miserable sleep-deprived life and die early of a heart attack or stroke.
From "In conversation with Professor Colin Sullivan; Snoring kills"
Robyn Williams: And that question of snoring-and then when you stop breathing which is what apnoea is-was that thought to be just a normal process, that's the way you slept at night?
Colin Sullivan: Colin Sullivan: Absolutely, I think snoring at least was believed to be essentially normal, people had written, and talked, and joked about snoring forever, and because it's so common people assume that it is normal. However, the stopping breathing, which again would have been and was reported, was thought—I would think that people would have seen their partners or father etc. doing that and thought it was part of ageing etc. So I think that's probably one of the reasons why people didn't take it seriously. I think the other reason is that because all of the events occur during sleep, certainly at that time in the 1970s the medical approach to sleep was the patients are all right and you can leave them alone.
Robyn Williams: Well, look, this has puzzled me for a long time because if you go back further than 10,000 years, during 100,000 years when we were wandering around the plains or the forest—and it struck me about babies as well, if you've got screaming babies in the forest and you're surrounded by sabre tooth tigers or whatever, you're not going to last. Similarly if all the men are snoring around the campfire then you're advertising your presence and it's a risky business. Is it likely that snoring is a modern thing and we didn't do it way back as primitives?
Colin Sullivan: No I don't, I think it's occurred as part of the evolution if you like of our upper airway and it's probably in part a consequence of our developing speech capacity-because the upper airways are actually a muscular tube which depends on muscle tone to stay open. So I don't think it's a modern phenomenon. Certainly there are references to snoring and obstruction in ancient literature, so I don't think it's recent at all. Some people in a semi-humorous way have suggested that snoring was protective, in the sense that if you're in a cave and making this incredible noise it sounds more like a lion than a human.
Robyn Williams: Keeps the beasts away.
Colin Sullivan: Yes, that's right. But no, I don't think so. I think certainly in our time one of the major risk factors for developing snoring and obstruction is course obesity but it's not the root cause. You have to have a small airway to begin with and it also involves the loss of muscle tone in sleep. But in modern times of course it's part of the obesity epidemic that we are facing.