The Staggering Cost of Undiagnosed Obstructed Sleep Apnea

According to a recent article posted by News Medical, a report reveals the staggering cost of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea in the U.S. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) released a new analysis, titled “Hidden health crisis costing America billions,” that reveals the staggering cost of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. A companion report was also released, titled “In an age of constant activity, the solution to improving the nation’s health may lie in helping it sleep better,” which summarizes the results of an online survey completed by patients currently being treated for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Both reports were commissioned by the AASM and prepared by the global research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

Cost of Obstructed Sleep ApneaOSA is a chronic disease that is rising in prevalence in the U.S. Frost & Sullivan estimates that OSA afflicts 29.4 million American men and women, which represents 12 percent of the U.S. adult population. They also calculated that diagnosing and treating every patient in the U.S. who has sleep apnea would produce an annual economic savings of $100.1 billion.

Treating sleep apnea improves productivity and safety while reducing health care utilization, notes AASM Immediate Past President Dr. Nathaniel Watson. His editorial about the report is published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Frost & Sullivan calculated that the annual economic burden of undiagnosed sleep apnea among U.S. adults is approximately $149.6 billion. The estimated costs include $86.9 billion in lost productivity, $26.2 billion in motor vehicle accidents and $6.5 billion in workplace accidents. Untreated sleep apnea also increases the risk of costly health complications such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and depression. The report estimates that undiagnosed sleep apnea also costs $30 billion annually in increased health care utilization and medication costs related to these comorbid health risks.

To learn more about the Sleep Group Solutions protocol, which bring physicians and dentists together to screen and treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea, check out their live 2-day lectures.

I’d be more than happy to discuss any of your thoughts regarding sleep apnea the next time you are in the office. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667.

Image used in this blog is courtesy of the AASM. Blog courtesy of http://join.sleepgroupsolutions.com/staggering-cost-undiagnosed-osa/

 

 

Summer Travel Alert: Drowsy Driving Can Be as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

Drowsy Driving

As you get ready to hit the road this summer to enjoy your favorite vacation spots, be aware that drowsy driving can lead to serious consequences for you, your family and others on the road. There are many reasons you can become drowsy when driving, the most important of which is lack of proper sleep. It has been reported by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) that drivers are 15 times more likely to be involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident when they have excessive daytime sleepiness, a common symptom of sleep apnea.

AADSM further states that 12-18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and snoring, with millions more going undiagnosed – as many as 30-50 million more as claimed by The Institute of Medicine. Certainly sleep apnea and snoring prevent the person suffering with these conditions, and often those sleeping nearby, a good night’s rest. We have spoken in prior blogs about the remedies for sleep apnea, but for those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, or those who can’t comply with a CPAP, oral appliance therapy may just be the ticket to a good night’s sleep.

Oral appliances look like a sports mouth guard and travel well. Not only are they quiet in comparison to a CPAP, they are very easy to care for. If you think you suffer from primary snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, ask me for a referral to a board-certified sleep physician. Once officially diagnosed, you can determine the best treatment option for you. We will be happy to fit you with an oral appliance should that choice work for you.

In the meantime, look for these telltale signs of drowsiness when driving:

  • Yawning constantly
  • Unable to keep your eyes open
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Nodding off
  • Daydreaming, wandering thoughts
  • Drifting into other lanes
  • Can’t remember the last few miles
  • Ending up too close to cars in front
  • Missing road signs
  • Driving past turns
  • Moving onto the `rumble strip’ or road shoulder

If any of these present themselves, switch drivers with someone more alert or pull over into a safe place and take a nap. Then walk around to wake up before driving again.

Be sure to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have and to schedule your next visit or schedule an appointment to be fit for your oral appliance to assist you in achieving a good night’s sleep.

Three Ways That Modern Dentistry Can Help Improve Your Love Life!

lovelife

Three Ways That Modern Dentistry Can Help Improve Your Love Life!

Don’t believe it? Well, it’s true. There may even be more! I can think of at least three ways that modern dentistry could change your love life. I’ve seen it happen time and again. Here are the three ways that come immediately to mind:

1.Cosmetic Dentistry

Repeated studies have shown that people with attractive smiles have an advantage – at work and at life in general. They are more likely to get that job, a date, or a new spouse because a beautiful smile naturally attracts more positive  attention. Whether it’s tooth whitening, porcelain laminate veneers or cosmetic bonding, dentistry today can help you get that winning smile!

2. Fresh Breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a real “buzz kill”. No one wants to kiss someone with bad breath. Most bad breath comes from inadequate home care. Just brushing and flossing properly can solve most of these problems.

Other causes can, however, occasionally be the culprit. These include: smoking, sinus infections, periodontal disease, eating foods that contain aromatic compounds  such as garlic and raw onions that are eliminated through the lungs, and Xerostomia or dry mouth. Whatever the cause, the dental office is the place to start. By asking a few questions we can usually determine the cause and solving the problem can sometimes be surprisingly easy.

3. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious and sometimes life threatening medical condition that is often treated with CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines but can in many cases be alleviated with oral appliances. Patients with OSA show more sexual dysfunction relating to erectile dysfunction and sexual dissatisfaction when compared to normal subjects. Treating patients with OSA with oral appliances when possible has been shown in controlled studies to improve erectile dysfunction as discussed by Aarnoud Hoekema in his book: Oral-appliance Therapy in Obstructive Sleep Apnea-hypopnea Syndrome.

And there you have it, three ways in which modern dentistry can improve your love life! I’d be interested to hear from any of you who have your own stories to share.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!

Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Can You Pass This Simple Test?

STOP-BANG Quetionnaire

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most under-diagnosed and potentially most serious of all medical conditions. If untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and premature death.

By taking this simple test below (the “STOP-BANG” questionnaire) you can determine if you are at risk for OSA. If so, speak with your physician or call us for a referral to a medical sleep specialist. Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!

STOP-BANG Questionnaire
To Assess Risk for an Obstructed Sleep Airway (OSA)

  1. Do you Snore loudly (louder than talking or loud enough to be heard through closed doors ?   O Yes O No
  2. Do you often feel Tired, fatigued, or sleepy during daytime?  O Yes O No
  3. Has anyone Observed you stop breathing during your sleep? O Yes O No
  4. Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure? O Yes O No
  5. Body Mass Index (BMI) more than 35 (use the formula to calculate your BMI)?
    O Yes O No
    BMIFormula
  6. Age over 50 yr old?  O Yes O No
  7. Neck circumference greater than 40 cm?  O Yes O No
  8. Gender male?  O Yes O No

Scoring: Answering “yes” to three or more of the 8 questions indicates that you are at High Risk for OSA. Answering “yes” to less than three questions indicates that you are at Low Risk for OSA. If you scored in the High Risk for OSA category, a sleep study or an evaluation by a sleep specialist may be warranted.

 

Sleep apnea – Do you suffer from the “silent killer”?

sleepapnea_drlarrystone

The first time I recall hearing anything about obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was shortly after the death of former Philadelphia Eagle and NFL great Reggie White, the famed “Minister of Defense”. Coming just a few weeks after his 43rd birthday, Reggie’s passing really affected my psyche and brought national attention to the issue. After all, he was such a physical specimen as to actually intimidate opposing players. So what happened?

It turns out that sleep apnea happens when one’s airway becomes blocked while sleeping. In many cases it is because a person is overweight and excess tissue thickens the wall of the windpipe making it more difficult to breathe. Sometimes it is because the throat muscles relax more than normal. It’s estimated that about 30 million Americans have sleep apnea with about half of those being undiagnosed. One study estimates the prevalence of OSA in the population visiting the dental office as approaching 34%.

The signs and symptoms of OSA can range from mild snoring to a feeling of general tiredness, cognitive impairment, an increase in blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension, obesity and an increase in one’s Body Mass Index (BMI). Left untreated OSA can result in heart attack, stroke and in the case of some, like Reggie White, premature death. Additionally, people with OSA are two-three times more likely to be involved in a car crash than those who do not suffer from it, and five times more likely to be involved in a serious car crash!

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can only be diagnosed by a qualified physician with the aid of a polysomnogram (sleep study).Initial treatment may involve abstaining from alcohol and sleep medications, weight loss and a change in sleep position.Beyond that, the gold standard for treatment of OSA is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Surgery may help some and the use of a removable dental appliance to open the airway may also help.

If you think you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea don’t hesitate to discuss this with your physician or call us for a referral.We will be looking for signs of this silent killer each and every time you visit us in the office as well!