Night-time face masks to tackle snoring can help millions with sleep apnoea, ...

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Face masks worn during the night to tackle snoring could help millions of patients with mild sleep apnoea, scientists claim The mask is part of a CPAP machine, already given to people with severe apnoea Air is pumped through the mask worn over the nose to keep airways open This is the first time experts have found it could be useful to treat mild apnoea  

By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 23:30 GMT, 2 December 2019 | Updated: 23:33 GMT, 2 December 2019

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A face mask worn during night-time could help millions of patients with mild sleep apnoea, scientists claim. 

The common condition is caused by the airways narrowing during sleep, which can lead to snoring and restricted breathing. 

NHS doctors are already able to dish out the masks - called CPAP machine pumps - to patients with moderate to severe apnoea.

However, Imperial College London researchers have now proven the gadgets could help patients with mild cases. 

The mask attaches to a machine which gently pumps air into the mouth or nose as patients sleep, keeping the airways open. 

Results of a trial of 200 patients with mild apnoea showed the masks helped curb extreme fatigue - a common complaint of the condition.  

A night-time face masks to tackle snoring can help millions of patients with mild sleep apnoea, scientists claim. The mask is part of a CPAP machine which pumps air into the nose or mouth to keep the airways open (stock picture of the technology)

A night-time face masks to tackle snoring can help millions of patients with mild sleep apnoea, scientists claim. The mask is part of a CPAP machine which pumps air into the nose or mouth to keep the airways open (stock picture of the technology)

Eleven NHS sleep centres across the UK, including the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, were involved in the study.

Some 115 patients were asked to use the CPAP for three months, while 118 received standard care for mild sleep apnoea.

This includes advice on improving sleep and avoiding anything that can exacerbate the condition, such as drinking alcohol before bed or smoking.

Patients who used the CPAP machine had an improvement of 10 points on a vitality scale, compared to those who received standard care.

WHAT IS SLEEP APNOEA AND HOW IS IT TREATED? 

Sleep apnoea is when your breathing stops and starts while you sleep. The most common type is called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). 

Symptoms of sleep apnoea mainly happen during sleep. They include:

breathing stopping and starting making gasping, snorting or choking noises  waking up a lot  loud snoring 

During the day, symptoms include:

feeling very tired  finding it hard to concentrate  having mood swings  having a headache in the morning

Treatment

People with moderate or severe apnoea may need to use a CPAP machine which is given for free on the NHS.

A CPAP machine gently pumps air into a mask worn over the mouth or nose during sleep. 

Less common treatments for sleep apnoea include a gum shield-like device that holds your airways open while you sleep or surgery to help your breathing, such as removing large tonsils.

It's recommended people with

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