Access To Sleep Testing Will Make A Big Health Impact
Posted Jun 12 2012 12:51pm
From The Boston Globe…..
The number of people in Massachusetts living with obstructive sleep apnea would fill Fenway Park 10 times over. Sadly, the majority of them don’t know it and fewer still are being treated. Most in the Bay State have either never heard of the condition or think it merely means loud snoring that keeps spouses up at night. Sleep apnea is, however, a serious health condition, more common in the United States than diabetes, and it is known to cause or aggravate diabetes and high blood pressure, lead to obesity, raise the risk of heart attack and stroke, and cause fatal traffic accidents from the lack of restful sleep.
However, sleep apnea continues to fly under the radar. This is a shame, since addressing this disease, with its connections to the country’s most expensive health conditions — obesity, diabetes and heart disease — reduces health care costs and improves the quality of life for millions. This is an especially timely consideration, given the recent measures taken by the Massachusetts Legislature to control rising health care spending. More importantly, it would make millions of Americans much healthier.
This week, Boston is host to the largest meeting of sleep specialists in the world, SLEEP 2012, where experts will be focused on advancements in diagnosis and management of sleep apnea, in addition to other sleep disorders. Despite the advancement in medical science in this field, a startling 85 percent of sufferers with moderate to severe sleep apnea remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated. Prevalence in the United States is rising due to increasing childhood and adult obesity, making improved access to diagnosis a necessity.