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What is Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is a condition where a person’s throat intermittently blocks off during sleep – either completely (apnoea) or partially (hypopnoea). They may wake briefly or they may not; they may wake up choking or they are not aware of it at all. A partner may notice what is happening. In the case of severe sleep apnoea, sleep can be interrupted many times during the night. The result may be abnormal daytime sleepiness, and even slightly clouded thinking, which does create a significant rail safety issue. The onset of the condition is gradual, so most people do not notice symptoms and frequently deny them as they see themselves as perfectly normal, when in reality they are not.
Common may symptoms include:
Download our Sleep Apnoea GP information sheet.
What is Silicosis?
Silicosis is a pneumoconiosis, meaning a lung disease caused by dust. It is caused by breathing in “respirable” particles containing crystalline silicon dioxide (SiO2), commonly called silica. Respirable means the airborne dust fraction that can penetrates deep into the pulmonary alveolar region of the lungs.
There are eight different crystalline silica polymorphs that differ in their toxicity. Tridymite, cristobalite, and quartz are polymorphs with high toxicity, while coesite and stishovite are relatively less toxic. The other silica polymorphs have not been studied in any detail.
It is now recommended for all workers exposed to crystalline silica to undergo lifelong health surveillance on an annual basis. The World Health Organization (WHO) advise that a baseline chest X-ray (ILO CXR) should be obtained at the start of employment, with a repeat chest X-ray performed after 2–3 years. A screening chest X-ray should then be performed every 2–5 years thereafter. Spirometry and symptom questionnaires should also be obtained annually from the start of employment and should prompt referral to specialist respiratory services if any significant change or abnormality is detected.
Download our Crystalline Silica GP information sheet.