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20% of road traffic accidents in the UAE are sleep-related

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea testing essential in the Middle East in order to avoid road deaths

Dubai, UAE: The 10th Middle East Update in Otolaryngology Conference &Exhibition held at the Madinat Jumeirah Arena, Dubai, and UAE, continues tomorrow the 23rd of April. Dr Oko, Consultant ENT surgeon Michael Oko, UK government advisor on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and Founder of the Sleeping Disorders Centres spoke today at the conference offering solutions for obstructive sleep apnoea which is an ever increasing problem in the Arabian Gulf.

Otolaryngology ConferenceSleeping Disorders Centres are comprised of a team of healthcare professionals who specialize in different aspects that cause sleep disorders such as, pulmonologists, neurologists, psychologists, anaesthesiologists and otolaryngologists.

According to Dr Oko, "Because of a prolonged campaign about the condition and the better treatment options available after the Sleeping Disorders Centres were established in the UK, we have seen the rate of annual traffic fatalities in Lincolnshire fall from 79 to 39 within five years. At least any traffic accidents brought about by this condition can be minimised if more patients seek help. Studies show that up to 20% of road traffic accidents are sleep-related, so with over 1000 road deaths a year in UAE, and over 6300 in Saudi Arabia [2007 police data], a sleep apnoea testing and treatment programme could reduce fatalities significantly.”

Obesity levels (the major risk factor for OSA) in the Gulf region are reaching those of the US and Europe. Hard data is scarce due to a lack of awareness of the condition and scarcity of treatment facilities in the region, however, a study conducted at King Khalid University and King Fahd National Guard primary health care clinics in Riyadh, between December 2005 and March 2006, found that a third of middle-aged Saudi males taking part showed symptoms of sleep apnoea.

Obstructive sleep apnoea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. These muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, the side walls of the throat and the tongue. When the muscles relax, the airway narrows or closes as the individual breathes in, and they can't get an adequate breath in. This may lower the level of oxygen in the blood. The brain senses this inability to breathe and briefly rouses the individual from sleep so they can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that the person doesn't remember it.

Running alongside the conference is an exhibition with more than 70 exhibitors showcasing the latest technologies and product launches from manufacturers and distributors within the ENT field. Products such as hearing aids, laser machines, microsurgical instruments and sleep apnoea devices will be on display from companies such as Karl Storz, Olympus and Medtronic. The event is supported by the UAE Ministry of Health and the Dubai Health Authority.

For more information on the Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition, please call +971 4 408 2813 or visit

Note to Editors

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