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SIX percent of the population of the Balearic Islands suffer from “sleep apnea”, a condition which prevents normal breathing in sufferers when they are asleep. Álvaro Agustí, director of Pneumology at Son Dureta Hospital in Palma confirmed that apnea also causes acute drowsiness in those affected during their waking hours. The director was speaking during an Open Forum being held in Palma yesterday, entitled “Hot Topics: Sleep Apnea”.
This condition results in those affected developing an irregular breathing pattern whilst asleep. “They can't rest properly and consequently suffer from excess drowsiness in daily situations such as holding a conversation, working or driving, he indicated. A specialist “Sleep Unit” has been in existence at Son Dureta since 1992. Each year, it is attended by more than 400 patients who suffer from sleep apnea. The unit was one of the first to be created in Spain and is currently one of the most important at a national level. Agustí warned that apnea can produce potentially “serious” problems for the sufferer as patients can develop a variety of difficulties in their daily lives. Alarmingly, drowsiness makes them prone to traffic accidents, which, asserted the director, occur “very frequently”. Furthermore, sufferers are more prone to other heart-related illnesses including high blood pressure, and heart attacks.
Sleep apnea has three basic symptoms: drowsiness, obesity and snoring, although the director pointed out that still the origin and causes of the condition remain unknown. With so much still to be learned about the illness, the concept of an annual forum on the topic became a reality for the first time. It has provided a platform for discussion and debate on these unknown factors and a focus from which to explore the best way of treating sufferers. The second day of the forum “Hot topics: Sleep apnea”, will today witness a host of international specialists contributing to round table discussion.
Participating guest speakers come from all over Spain, the United States of America, Canada and Europe. As a novel feature, this forum has become the first which can be followed on the Internet. Those interested will be able to access up-to-the-minute information from the Forum in real time.
Orthopaedic Surgery
Separately, Son Dureta also played host yesterday to the start of the 21st Congress of the Balearic Association of Orthopaedic Surgery.
The conference had scheduled three round table discussions where themes such as fractures and bone substitutes were high on the agenda. The Congress, which is held annually on the Island, is organised by the Orthopedic surgery service of Son Dureta Hospital and its objective is to keep the professionals in the region well posted on up-to-the-minute treatment techniques. The different round table discussions will be held throughout today and next Friday. Discussions will be spearheaded by professionals from Son Dureta, Son Llatzer, Ca'n Misses and the Costa del Sol Hospital.