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January 11th 2017

At Legacy we want to bring you the latest news related to your health and wellness. Below is an overview of a recent article, written by Darrel Drobnich, President, American Sleep Apnea Association. This article is a great read with helpful information for both sleep professionals, patients, and advocates.

Sleep-related problems in our 24/7 lifestyle is a problem. Sleep-related problems are estimated to affect 50 to 70 million Americans. This includes all ages and socioeconomic classes, both men and women.

Even with these kind of stats, the overwhelming majority of sufferers are undiagnosed and untreated. As Darrel Drobnich points out, this can “create unnecessary public health and safety problems, as well as increased health care expenses.”

We know sleep in vital to our productivity and well-being, yet studies continue to show that millions of Americans are still at risk for serious safety and health consequences of untreated sleep disorders and lack of adequate sleep.

One of the most serious sleep issues is obstructive sleep apnea, a prevalent chronic sleep and breathing disorder characterized by repeated stops or near stops of breathing during sleep due to collapse of the tissues in the airway. A breathing episodes can last 10 seconds or more. This causes a disruption in sleep and oxygen depletion. According to Drobnich, OSA affects 17% of adults and over 25% of older adults, with rates increasing in association with the obesity epidemic.

Sleep apnea requires immediate and ongoing therapy because it lowers blood-oxygen levels and disrupts sleep, and is associated with some of America’s other most pressing health problems including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, and early mortality and results in an increase of depression, anxiety, cognitive issues, erectile dysfunction, irritability, daytime sleepiness and motor vehicle crashes.

If you or someone you know may have a sleep problem like sleep apnea, ask your physician to refer you to a sleep lab or clinic where you will participate in a sleep study. Be persistent in helping your primary care physician understand your concerns in order to gain proper referrals.

Reference the full article on peopleforqualitycare.org to learn about risk factors and signs & symptoms of sleep apnea.