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Wed, 7th January 2015

You don't have to be fat, sport a beer belly, snore or sleep on the back to be a member of the exclusive club. The club of "Sleep Apnea", ceasing to breathe and partially waking at night.

The figure continues to climb, as more and more are diagnosed. Many are slim, young and attractive but the tell-tale issue is there - not enough room for air to get into the respiratory system. If the air channels are narrow, this worsens at night and leads to the condition. Most have heard the name, but rarely suspect they could be at risk.

End result of this means that after breathing out, there is often a pause before the next inhalation. During this brief time, oxygen saturation of the blood drops dramatically. It does not rise until the next breath and the vital oxygen supply to the vital centres of the brain suffer.

Little by little impairment takes place. If undiagnosed and untreated this increases. It sounds farcical, but cardiovascular damage, often irreversible, can occur. It gradually leads to arterial narrowing causing angina (chest pain from inadequate oxygen to the heart). Then hypertension or elevated blood pressure. Mental impairment is an earlier symptom. This often occurs in the form of daytime drowsiness. Which means increased risks of accidents, at home, when driving or at work, worse if operating machinery and manual skills.

Apnoea may last several seconds, followed by a long guttural gasp as the next breath starts. During this time also, the body partially awakens and may occur several times an hour, or even hundreds of times a night. Added together, it drastically reduces the amount of quality sleep, again leading to negative symptoms next day.

This is readily measurable at a sleep disorders clinic. Remedy is use of a CPAP mask which fits over the nose and a gentle stream of air flows keeping the airways open, and guaranteeing plenty of oxygen to the brain. Symptoms can magically vanish. Mental acuity improves, and a multitude of symptoms, many unknown, vanish. The person invariably feels much better, more energetic, more mentally alert. The outcome is very positive, the benefits often enormous. Talk to your GP, whether you are fat or thin, a snorer or not, if you're not as mentally nimble or tire easily.



I recently visited Sydney and climbed to the top of the harbor bridge, where the view was wonderful. Although safely secured making a fall impossible, I felt dreadfully whoozey and light headed, and very fearful.


Many have a terrible fear of heights, open spaces, closed rooms, tunnels, lifts and frogs. It all belongs to the "phobias" part of the anxiety family of disorders. Fortunately, a majority can cope and avoid situations where the fears become serious. Do not invite trouble. If caught, close the eyes, take a few deep breaths, relax, and keep telling yourself you are safe, happy, secure and not in any danger. Picture positive images, and enforce the picture of wonderment that is there for you to see. Talk to those around for encouragement. Relaxation and behavioral therapy from the doctor or psychologist help if symptoms continue to distress.

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Mum has painful joints and a friend wears a copper bracelet and claims it reduces the pain. Is this imagination or for real?


Copper in a multitude of forms has been used for arthritic pain for centuries. Many wear bracelets, necklaces, whilst others try skin applications. Alcusal has been around for years, and many believe it brings relief. Nobody knows how or why. There are heaps of "traditional or alternative" treatments. If it works for you or your friend, so be it. Harm is unlikely, although the body does not like too much copper.

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What is the attitude of doctors to self monitoring blood pressure?


Today this is popular, and doctors like the idea. It can easily be taken once or several times a day, recorded and produced at the next visit. Today, automated do-it-yourself devices are readily available. The cuff around the upper arm is believed to be the most accurate. Arm should be at the level of the heart, the body and mind relaxed. It is probably of most value to those on pressure lowering medication, for pressures taken in surgeries are usually under stress and probably unreliable.

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I chewed my finger nails for many years, decided how ugly they appeared, and stopped overnight. They grew and I was proud of them. However, watching a spooky movie one night, the bad habit unconsciously returned and in three minutes I had chewed them all off again.


This is common, and the hands may creep to the mouth despite how hard one tries to stop. Just the same, success can be revisited. Keep trying, be aware of your hands and fingers. I am sure you will "overcome" yet again, and be proud of the result. There is no doubt, bitten nails are a shocker, a sex turn off, and reduce self esteem.

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I have tried apple cider vinegar and there is no doubt my sore joints are not so stiff and painful.


This, like many other remedies, is held in high regard by some, and has been used for centuries. When there was no suitable medication, people resorted to all manner of "cures". Lots do not like the bitter taste, but others do not mind. It is readily and cheaply available at supermarkets.

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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.



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