Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Monday, 13 October 2008 12:31 UK

Proposals to beat sleep disorder

People in north Cumbria who suffer from a serious sleep problem could soon have easier access to specialist help.

Sleep apnoea can cause patients to stop breathing for up to a minute when airflow to the lungs is restricted.

Currently, sufferers have to travel to Barrow or the north east if they want specialist treatment.

Clinicians at NHS Cumbria are now examining the possibility of developing a new service for patients in the north of the county.

Research has shown that people with sleep apnoea are seven to 12 times more likely to have a road accident than those without the disorder.

Special mask

They are also at greater risk of stroke, blood pressure and cardiac problems if their condition is not treated.

Specialist help for patients diagnosed with the condition includes advice on adopting different sleeping positions and exercise.

Patients can also be prescribed a special mask which provides air pressure to help keep the airways open during sleep.

Dr Ian Mitchell, chair of the trust's professional executive committee of leading clinicians, said: "GPs in north Cumbria currently have to refer patients who need specialist help to either Barrow or out of the county.

"This new project will explore how a new service can be developed which provides patients with support closer to home."




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