Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis Delays in Canada

There are many problems with the American health care system, but as we are considering health care reform, it is important to pay attention to the weaknesses of alternate systems. Canada's health system often receives high marks for both its ability to provide universal care and its ability to resist industry pressures that can put profit above public good. However, one of the most common complaints about the Canadian system is long wait times for treatments, especially treatments involving specialists who are in demand and can cross the border into the United States.

Sleep medicine is one area where people can suffer potentially deadly delays as a result of the system. In Saskatchewan, for example, there are very few labs able to diagnose sleep apnea. One lab has a waiting list of over 2000 people, and some of these people have been waiting five years for diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. Because of the myriad dangers of sleep apnea, Health Canada guidelines recommend a maximum wait time for sleep apnea diagnosis of two to six months.

A relatively new program in Saskatchewan, though, has given thousands of Canadians an option. Instead of waiting in line for diagnosis at a sleep lab, people who suspect sleep apnea can take home a portable testing kit to determine whether they are likely to be suffering from sleep apnea.

The only problem with the program? Funding. Although it has successfully reduce the waiting lists at the area sleep clinic and brought wait times into the recommended length, the provincial government is unsure whether it wants to continue funding the program. With funding up in the air, it is uncertain whether the program will be cut off despite its early success.

At the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center in Gurnee, Illinois, we can make sure you receive timely diagnosis and treatment for your sleep apnea. Schedule a sleep apnea consultation today.

posted by Dr. Candelaria at 2:41 PM