Dubai: More than 50 per cent of the UAE population suffers from at least one or more sleeping disorders at par with the global average in developing countries, said heath experts at the three-day ENT (ear, nose and throat) congress which opened on January 15, 2012.
The congress was inaugurated by His Highness Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance and President of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). It was an umbrella event that hosted the 10th GCC otorhinolaryngology (head and neck surgery), 3rd Emirates Rhinology (nasal health), and 2nd Arab Otology (ear related) and Audiology (hearing) Conferences. It was attended by more than 700 regional and international delegates and 60 speakers.
The most prevalent disorders are snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Both disorders are linked to obesity.
Experts said that snoring and OSA if undiagnosed could lead to serious health complications.
Latest available 2012 figures place the UAE seventh on the Global Fat Scale among 177 countries, calculated using UN data on population size and estimates of global weight from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The congress was an umbrella event that hosted the 10th GCC otorhinolaryngology (head and neck surgery), 3rd Emirates Rhinology (nasal health), and 2nd Arab Otology (ear related) and Audiology (hearing) Conferences. It was attended by more than 700 regional and international delegates and 60 speakers.
The high number of people suffering from sleep disorders is expected, said Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman, chairman of the conference, director of medical affairs at Dubai Hospital and ENT consultant.
Speaking to Gulf News, he said, “At the sleep clinics at Dubai Hospital and Rashid Hospital, five to six patients are diagnosed of sleeping disorders every day. The percentage of people suffering from one or more disorders could be even higher due to undiagnosed cases.”
Dr Rahman explained that OSA causes interrupted breathing during sleep, and if untreated, it can increase the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attack, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
He added that OSA is common in people aged 35 to 54-years-old; it affects more men than women. It can also affect kids.
Depending on the severity of a sleep disorder, it can diminish oxygen in the blood (hypoxaemia), leading to cardiac, neurological, metabolic and mental conditions, said speaker Prof Dr Yassin Bahgat from Egypt. His workshop topic was on advances in treating sleep disorders through surgery. He told Gulf News, “Increasingly patients are opting for permanent solutions like surgeries to correct conditions like snoring and OSA.”
Engineer Essa Al Maidoor, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) spoke to Gulf News about the congress’ role in knowledge exchange. “This conference aims to continue to update medical knowledge and treatments in the ENT field,” he said.