Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder afflicting tens of millions of people worldwide, which is characterized by shallow breathing and or pauses in breathing, and often snoring. Each pause in breathing can last between several seconds to several minutes and Sleep Apnea by definition requires five such episodes per hour. The pause in breathing allows carbon dioxide levels to build up in the bloodstream, signaling the brain to wake up the person to let them breathe in air. This restores normal oxygen levels and the person can fall asleep again, if they are not too awake to do so. It is common for those with sleep apnea to snore.




THERE ARE THREE TYPES OF SLEEP APNEA


Obstructive
Sleep Apnea (OSA)
affecting 84% of sufferers is caused by a complete or partial blockage of the upper airways.
Central
Sleep Apnea (CSA)
is relatively rare affecting only 0.4% of sufferers and usually due to instability in the body's feedback mechanism that control breathing.
Mixed
Sleep Apnea
affects the remaining 15.6% of sufferers and is a mixture OSA and CSA.


Whatever the cause, sleep apnea inevitably causes very poor quality sleep and consequent daytime fatigue and impaired alertness, as well as long-term damage such as liver disease and diabetes. In the US alone, an estimated 12 million Americans suffer from OSA, mainly adults but including some children, and these are conservative estimates taken from the numbers that consult with medical professionals on the problem, and the real number of sufferers is probably far higher.

Many people who suffer from sleep apnea are not aware of the problem and why they have such poor quality sleep. They are even unaware that they are having difficulty breathing while asleep and initial diagnosis relies on a partner or other person witnessing the condition. Many sufferers remain unaware and undiagnosed even after decades and have simply become conditioned to their poor sleep capabilities.

Some of the potential in this huge market can be unlocked by making poor sleepers aware that apnea may be the reason for their impaired sleep and thus seek a professional diagnosis. Raised awareness can also get the message to professionals and sufferers that there is an effective and relatively simple treatment such as Nexense’s CLEAR available.

This is a billion dollar market in the US, where Philips sleep therapy products already generate revenue of $1 billion annually. Most patients do not adjust to existing solutions, which include dental appliances, masks and other continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, and even surgery.



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// SNORING //


Snoring is an extremely common condition that affects an estimated 30% of people aged over 30. It is characterized by noisy breathing caused by vibration of relaxed soft tissues of the nose, soft palate or pharynx while sleeping, and is generally regarded as a first sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. However, snoring is a major problem in itself, disrupting the sleep not only of the sufferer but also creating a major disturbance for his or her partner.

It is also considered a long-term health risk, which leads to a deprived oxygenation state during sleep and has been found to be the main factor in increased cardiac atherosclerosis, strokes, and even death.




Snoring can be the result of many factors, such as obesity, alcohol or other sedative abuse, muscular degeneration as a result of old age or muscular dystrophy, obstruction of nasal cavity by the tongue, tonsil or oral palate and more. It has been found to increase with age and to be more common among men.

Yet snoring is frequently not taken seriously by those who suffer from the problem and only a fraction of those afflicted actively seek treatment. This makes the market especially fertile, if there is raised awareness that there is an effective and relatively simple treatment such as Nexense’s CLEAR available. In the US alone, where at a highly conservative estimate 26 million Americans have a problem with snoring, the market was worth an estimated $5.1 billion in 2015, and this amount is predicted to rise to $9 billion by 2023.

Existing devices on the market include chin straps, mouthpieces, nasal strips, nasal cones, anti-snoring pillows, therapeutic rings, Tongue Retaining Devices (TRD), Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSD), Mandible Advancement Devices (MAD) and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Devices (CPAP). There are also medications, and surgical solutions.

The type of snoring treatment depends upon the condition persisting and the cause of the snoring pattern. For example, snoring as a result of the tonsils and adenoid regions is often solved by mandible splints, while those caused by nasal cavity collapse are often treated by the application of nasal strips or dilators.