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, March 6, 2012

National Sleep Awareness Week Stresses Risks of Inadequate Sleep, Sleep Apnea

National Sleep Awareness Week, which runs from March 5-11, is an annual educational campaign intended to promote the importance of sleep and the risks associated with inadequate sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, yet nearly 40 percent of adults report regularly sleeping less than seven hours per night. Tens of millions of Americans lose sleep due to the potentially deadly sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and in recent years National Sleep Awareness Week has increasingly focused on health hazards associated with OSA and other sleep disorders.

A sad reminder of the dangers of sleep apnea arrived early during the current National Sleep Awareness Week, when the family of a man who died in 2010 at a sleep center while undergoing testing for OSA filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Atlanta’s Emory Sleep Center.

In January 2010, Brandon Harris was undergoing overnight OSA assessment when the camera in his room captured the 25-year-old in distress and calling out, “Am I dying?” Harris died before medical treatment was administered.

Like many others with OSA, Harris suffered from other health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy. However, there are an increasing number of effective sleep apnea treatments, which can be prescribed by experienced dentists and other physicians.

To further emphasize how the loss of even minimal sleep can impact your life, National Sleep Awareness Week ends with the beginning of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, March 11, when most Americans are especially conscious of losing an hour of sleep.

If you believe you or a loved one suffers from the symptoms of OSA or another sleep disorder, please contact us to locate a dentist in your area who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

posted by Steve at 8:26 AM