Worldwide almost 1 billion people suffer from sleep apnea

Now is the time to act. International sleep experts estimate that there are just about one billion people worldwide that suffer from sleep apnea. With so many people suffering from this sleep disorder, now is the time to begin providing dental sleep medicine services in your practice. The longer you wait, the more competition will be out there, which will make it harder for you to set yourself apart from the rest. So, what are you waiting for?

A new sleep apnea number

In a study presented by ResMed and shared in Sleep Review, an international panel of researchers looked to provide a clearer scope of the impact of sleep apnea. It was previously estimated that there were 100 million people with obstructive sleep apnea, which was presented to us in 2007 from a World Health Organization study using the best available data at the time.

Technology improvements allowed researchers to look at more advanced ways of detecting OSA and underreported statistics from other areas of the world. This new study looks at an impacted population that is significantly larger than previously identified.

What does this mean for dental sleep medicine?

It means we should speak with our patients even more about how sleep can affect their overall health. It should also get people to think more about whether or not their bed partner snores. The more you get your patients to think about sleep apnea, the better we can help them. Sleep apnea is not a disease that only affects older, overweight men–it can affect anyone.

Let’s take charge of our patients’ health and well-being by providing dental sleep medicine sources in our dental offices. By completing continuing education, you can be better equipped to treat these patients. And while it might only be a fraction of the 1 billion people in the world, it can still play a big impact on the health of our nation.

Contact me to learn more about dental sleep medicine and upcoming lectures you can attend to advance your knowledge of this growing condition.

Sleep disorders common among non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis patients, study says

Let’s take a look at another connection with sleep breathing disorders. Adults with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis (NCFB) suffer from sleep disorders stemming from less oxygen in the blood, according to a study.

What is bronchiectasis though? It is a chronic condition characterized by abnormal widening of airways. This can lead to their destruction, a buildup of excess mucus and a decline in lung function.  

Sleep orders, specifically obstructive sleep apnea, affect 45 percent of the world’s population. Of this, about three to seven percent of young men and about 2.5 percent of young women in the Western world have sleep apnea. A risk increases in people with respiratory disorders.

Despite confirmed links between a number of respiratory diseases and sleep disorders, states the study, the relationship between bronchiectasis and sleep disorders have still not been investigated extensively. For this reason, this research team looked to dive into the connection.

What were the results?

It was found that 41 percent of patients had sleep apnea associated with low blood oxygen levels and 71 percent snored. On top of that, 53 percent of patients experienced excessive daytime sleepiness, a percentage higher than the general population.

This study brings to our attention just how important it is to complete further research on various connections with sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. By conducting further research and expanding our education, we can further provide our patients with even better care.

What conditions have you noticed a link with sleep apnea? Is there adequate research out there?

Economic Impact of Sleep Apnea Expands Beyond Economic Revenue

I came across this article on Delaware Online that I wanted to share with you all. We’ve touched base on the idea that sleep apnea has a significant impact on the economy, but costs even more when it goes untreated. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, but more than 80% do not receive a diagnosis.

Use Delaware as an Example

We don’t keep track of numbers specific to each state (but we should). In Delaware, those who treat sleep apnea (whether it is dentists or medical professionals), have said that awareness is on the rise in Delaware–that’s something every state should attain to do. A clinician education specialist with the Delaware Sleep Society stated that they had seen an increase in their study volume and are dedicated to promoting good sleeping habits.

In fact, in March 2015, about 100 patients visited the Delaware Sleep Society’s sleep disorder center. The number increased to 254 during the same month a year later. And, while statistics for 2017 are not yet available, we can take a guess that the number increased again this year. We need to improve our education and availability of information for patients so they know the risks at hand for untreated sleep apnea. Delaware is a great example of how the numbers are increasing due to awareness–we just need to hop on board.

A Look at the Numbers

Nationwide, sleep disorder centers saw a four percent growth every year between 2010 and 2015, according to IBISWorld, a Los Angeles-based tracker of consumer data. Due to the continued growth, in 2010 there were 2,280 sleep disorder centers in the U.S. generating about $5.9 billion. Then, in 2015, there were about 2,800 centers with an estimated revenue of $7.1 billion. This growth will continue to increase to $10 billion by 2020.

However, the economic impact of sleep apnea goes far beyond the economic revenue for those who treat sleep apnea. When sleep apnea goes undiagnosed, the economic burden is about $149.6 billion, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This includes nearly $87 billion in lost productivity, $26 billion in car crashes and $6.5 billion in workplace accidents.

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to an array of other serious health problems including heart disease, diabetes and depression. As a result, undiagnosed sleep apnea leads to $30 billion a year in increased health care costs. According to the AASM, if everyone who suffers from sleep apnea received treatment, it would create a savings of just over $100 billion–now that’s a lot!
It’s time we up our game with educating our patients about the need to screen for sleep apnea. We can help the sleep apnea industry grow, while keeping productivity high with proper treatment. What are ways we can continue to grow the education area of sleep apnea?