Understanding of sleep apnea is gaining speed with more people inquiring about this sleep disorder. That is why more articles are coming out, which is extremely exciting for us in dental sleep medicine.
What was really neat is that I recently read an article from the American Medical Association (AMA) from their What Doctors Wish Patients Knew™ series about sleep apnea. Two sleep medicine physicians shared some great information that is important for patients to know about sleep apnea. It is a great go-to article for an overview of a health topic that is near and dear to my practice and so many other dental offices.
Here are two highlights from the article “What doctors wish patients knew about sleep apnea” written by Sara Berg, MS, at the AMA. Feel free to review the article and share with your patients.
It appears to develop over time
The article notes that a normal apnea-hypopnea index while a person sleeps is five or less. At first, after gaining a little weight, you may experience five to seven episodes of sleep apnea per hour that may not even bother you much, noted Alejandro Chediak, MD.
However, Dr. Chediak explains, as years go by more weight is gained and you are older, so your sleep may be more fragmented, leading to a person feeling more tired.
Your bed partner is often the first to notice
I have said this before, but it was great to learn more from Ilene Rosen, MD, in this article who notes that it is often hard to notice sleep apnea on your own.
What you may notice is that you feel sleepy all the time. Some people may even notice that they wake up during the night feeling like they are choking or gasping for air. They may even go to the bathroom a lot at night.
This is why having your bed partner come to a doctor visit with you can be beneficial, says Dr. Rosen. By having them join you, they can share what they have noticed while you were asleep. It can help with the diagnosis and treatment.
Learn more from the article
While I only shared two aspects of the article, there are so many other pieces of advice and tips that Drs. Chediak and Rosen share throughout this article. To learn more, and share with your patients, make sure to visit the AMA’s article on sleep apnea—you won’t be disappointed.
After reading the article, if you have any questions or concerns about what you just learned, please contact my office or sign up for an upcoming lecture or seminar series. We are happy to help provide further information and guide you in the right direction.