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, December 13, 2011

Social Support May Help Sleep Apnea Sufferers Stick to Treatment

Although the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device can be effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), many people who try CPAP do not continue its use long-term.

Ongoing research being conducted at the Penn State College of Medicine, however, indicates that OSA sufferers are more likely to adhere to sleep apnea treatment if a partner or parent is actively involved. Researchers reviewed 80 studies regarding sleep apnea treatment to determine key factors that triggered patients to seek sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, as well as circumstances that affected patients’ likelihood to stick to treatment.

“Collectively, these studies suggest that patients who experience difficulties and proactively seek solutions to resolve problems are more likely to be adherent than those who use passive coping styles,” states the report published in the December issue of Sleep Medicine Reviews. Researchers also noted that patients who have access to social support, such as a partner or parent, are more likely to adhere to treatment long-term.

While the research focuses primarily on CPAP use, their findings may be of use to those who seek other forms of sleep apnea treatment. Numerous studies on people with various forms of addiction or other physical health problems have found that individuals who have access to social support—including regular phone calls, group meetings, routine conversations with family or spouses, or scheduled appointments with doctors and other healthcare providers—have an increased likelihood of following through on their treatment.

If you believe you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea symptoms, please contact a dentist near you who specializes in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to life-threatening health problems.

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posted by Steve at 8:21 AM