Sleep Apnea Played a Role in Carrie Fisher’s Death

We’ve talked about different famous people and how their deaths were associated with sleep apnea–or at least played a partial role. More recently we saw the death of beloved “Star Wars” actress, Carrie Fisher. While “Star Wars” fans mourned the death of their precious Princess Leia, we were learning a lot more about her health at the time of death. What is the most interesting is her sleep apnea. We are not sure if it was the cause of her death, but it played a major role in the downward spiral of her health in addition to many other factors, such as smoking and drug use.

The Causes of Death

While she didn’t die from just one cause, sleep apnea did play a major role. Last month the coroner’s office stated sleep apnea contributed to Carrie Fisher’s death. Some of the other factors included:

  • Atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque in the arteries)
  • Drug use
  • Smoking

The coroner did not specify if it was illegal drugs or her current prescriptions for medical issues, but her past drug use did not help her health–that’s for sure. In addition to drug use, Fisher also smoked, which can greatly increase a person’s risk of developing coronary artery disease from atherosclerosis.

Her family did not seem surprised in the results and her brother stated, “If you want to know what killed her, it’s all of it.”

Sleep Apnea’s Role

Carrie Fisher has not hidden her struggles. In fact, she has been very vocal about her struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder, but what most people are not aware of is the sleep apnea diagnosis–it more than triples a person’s risk of death. This is especially true if they don’t know they have it. And while we don’t know if Fisher was aware of her diagnosis, we do know that it contributed to her death.

It is important to get our patients tested for sleep apnea as soon as possible. Whether it is through an at-home sleep study or an in-office study, it is important for your patients to seek diagnosis for proper treatment planning. Once a diagnosis has been made, oral appliance therapy is a great option to use.

 

 

Attend a future lecture for improved knowledge

Education is the future. If you are searching for was to advance your practice or if you are looking for further guidance for your dental sleep medicine and/or craniofacial pain practice, lectures are available. By attending a lecture, you will take the necessary steps toward improving the services you offer while providing your patients with the care they deserve to live healthy, happy lives.

For your reference, take a look at some of my upcoming lectures:

 

August 11-12, 2017

Topic: Dental Sleep Medicine

Location Toronto, Canada

September 2, 2017

Topic: Dental Sleep Medicine Study Club

Location: Johns Creek GA

September 15-16, 2017

Topic: Pinpoint the Pain: TMD, Cranofacial Pain

Location: Phoenix, AZ

September 29-30, 2017

Topic: Sleep & Pain Mini Residency Session 2

Location: Atlanta, GA

October 5-6, 2017

Topic: Dentistry and dental marketing International conference

Location: Las vegas, NV

October 19, 2017

Topic: ADA 2017 Meeting -Sleep Medicine Panel: Ask the Experts

Location: Atlanta, GA

October 13-14, 2017

Topic: Advancing your Dental Sleep Medicine Practice

Location: Atlanta, GA

November 3-4, 2017

Topic: Dental Sleep Medicine and TMD

Location: London, England

November 10-11, 2017

Topic: Sleep, TMD, & Craniofacial Pain Symposium

Location: Las Vegas, NV

December 1-2, 2017

Topic: Sleep & Pain Mini Residency Session 3

Location: Atlanta, GA

You can also view other upcoming lectures by visiting my website. Choose the lectures that align with your practice’s needs and don’t forget to bring your staff with you! Some of these courses would be great for the whole team!

Don’t be afraid of online reviews

Today more than ever, people are turning to search engines such as Google, along with other trustworthy review sources to find everything from local restaurants and florists to hair stylists and auto repair shops.  The internet is the new phone book, and that means even a person’s choice of a dentist or dental sleep medicine specialist is highly influenced by where your practice ranks on search engines and what other patients are saying about your practice.

While you can’t prevent patients from reviewing your practice, you can increase the number of positive reviews you acquire through proper online reputation management.

Patients use reviews

By the time a patient begins looking at reviews online, they have already decided they need or want a service related to your practice. From looking at reviews, patients are attempting to see if your practice will fit into what they are in search of.

According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, about 85% of consumers report reading online reviews. But how many do they read before making a decision? Well, the survey also pointed out that about 67% of consumers will read six reviews or less before forming an opinion and making a decision.

And in another survey, about 90% said they made a decision based on good reviews, while 85% made their decision based on negative reviews. So, while you might think positive reviews are the deciding factor, think again. For this reason it is important to respond to negative reviews offline to provide a better experience for that patient.

Start asking patients for reviews

If you haven’t begun to ask your patients to review your practice, what is holding you back? All you need to do is ask your patients. It is important to get your front desk staff on the same page with what they are saying to patients as they check out.

Try asking your staff to share a review card or directing patients to the right area for finding further information about your practice. By asking your patients for reviews, you are generating loyalty, which not only looks good for potential patients, it helps keep patients too.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and begin your online reputation management to further advance your reach for your dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain practice.

Embrace millennials’ technology obsession

Let’s face it; millennials love the internet. From easy searches to social media, technology is their latest obsession and it is showing no signs of stopping. By now you should have your social network up and running.

With an active social network, you can continue to reach your patients and even medical professionals with important information. From sharing educational blog posts to statuses about your practice, and even articles from around the Internet, your social network stands as a vital go-between you and your patients. Let’s take a look at how you can re-examine your social network.

Be consistent with postings

Think about this: When do your patients go online? Or, better yet, when do you or your staff go online? By understanding when people are utilizing the Internet, you can plan out your sharing and posting.

For example, most people will go on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram when they first wake up in the morning, at lunch time, after work and then again before bed. If you stick to a time around those indicated, you can further improve your outreach to your patients.

Share important information

Pay close attention to what you are sharing on your social network. Is the information you are posting relatable for your patients? Is it something they really want to know? Think about questions that your patients frequently ask you and utilize information that answers those questions.

Help to educate your patients in dental sleep medicine by:

  • Answering questions
  • Providing resources
  • Sharing images
  • Giving tips

The purpose of social media is to educate your patients on your specific area of interest. From articles to your own educational blogs, these social channels are available for you to further reach your patients in any way possible so they know you are available and are listening.