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Do You Or Anyone You Snore A Lot? You May Have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (Part 1)

DR BOIMA
HEALTH ISSUES

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a relatively common condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing.

This term is made up of two major words; obstructive which means the breathing difficulty is due to an obstruction (partial or complete) of the airway and apnoea which means cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more. OSA leads to regularly interrupted sleep, which in most cases have a big impact on one’s quality of life and increases the risk of one developing other conditions. Some people know that they snore a lot or their breathing is not normal at night, but may be unaware that this is a medical problem that is causing them harm. Fortunately, good treatments are available.

Symptoms of OSA

The symptoms of OSA are often spotted and reported by a partner, friend or family member who notices problems while the sufferer is sleeping. The major signs and symptoms include;

Loud snoring – air that squeezes past a narrowed or blocked airway is the cause of the loud snoring. The snoring is usually loud enough that is disturbs one’s sleep or that of others

Laboured breathing – when the airway closes, the diaphragm and chest muscles are forced to work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs

Night sweats –  the laboured breathing can cause a lot of sweating that can even drench the sheets

Apnoea – episodes where one stops breathing for some time before the breathing starts again

Gasping, snorting or choking – breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp, snort, or even body jerk

Disrupted sleep – when the breathing stops for a short time, blood oxygen levels fall as a result, triggering the brain to pull one out of deep sleep – either to a lighter sleep or to wakefulness – so the airway reopens and one breathes normally to replenish the oxygen supply. The episodes of obstruction may happen many times – even hundreds of times overnight

Fatigue – the repeated sleep interruptions can make it difficult for one to wake up in the morning and when they do they would feel very tired during the day

Daytime somnolence – because of the disruptive effects of OSA on sleep, one  may struggle to stay awake as the day goes on, leading to daytime sleepiness

Headache – especially in the morning from lack of sleep

Decreased libido

Psychological – sleep deprivation also leads to trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, grumpiness  or even depression

Who is at risk of OSA?

It is normal for the muscles and soft tissues in the throat to relax and collapse to some degree while sleeping causing a bit of a snore. For most people this does not cause breathing problems. But in OSA, the obstruction is so severe that it causes symptoms. Overweight –overweight or obesity is the highest risk factor for OSA. Overweight people usually have a fat and short neck with lots of fatty tissue surrounding the throat which can compress it during sleep. Also, having a pot belly or large waistline can push the chest upwards during sleep, making it difficult for breathing or air exchange to take place in the lungs

Male gender – OSA is more common in men than in women though the reason is not really known, but it may be related to different patterns of body fat distribution.  However, women may catch up on the risk after menopause
Advanced age – though OSA can happen in all age groups, it is more common in people who are over 40 years

Family history – there may be genes inherited from parents that can make one more susceptible to OSA
Structural abnormalities – OSA is more likely in people who have smaller airways in their nose, throat, or mouth due to different conditions like enlarged adenoids and tonsils, the hanging uvula and soft palate that block the trachea, a larger-than-average tongue as well as a deviated septum in the nose or nasal congestion

Certain medications – taking medications with a sedative effect  such as sleeping tablets can make OSA worse
Alcohol – drinking alcohol, particularly before going to sleep, can make snoring and sleep apnoea worse
Smoking – smokers are at more risk of developing OSA than non-smokers
High blood pressure – Obstructive sleep apnea may be more common in people with  hypertension
Diabetes – most diabetic patients tend to have a comorbidity of OSA
Asthma – recent research has found an association between asthma and the risk of obstructive sleep apnea

How is OSA diagnosed?

People with OSA may not notice they have the condition, and so it can often go undiagnosed. However, if you or any of your family members have the symptoms mentioned above, see a health professional for a proper assessment and formal diagnosis. The reliable investigation to perform in someone suspected of having OSA (having most of the signs and symptoms) is with an overnight sleep study called polysomnography. This measures one’s sleep, breathing and oxygen levels overnight. Your GP may also may refer you to an ENT specialist to rule out any structural abnormalities in the ear, nose and mouth that may predispose you from having OSA.

Next week we will be discussing the effects OSA can have on one’s life and how it can be prevented and successfully treated. For comments or questions please email agboima@yahoo.com

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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