A silent killer lurks in many of your patient’s lives that strikes when their heads hit the pillow. It’s called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and it affects millions of Americans. But you can do something. You can improve their overall health and even save their lives by diagnosing and treating this nighttime menace. Right in your office, with a simple three-step process.
Sleep is Serious Business
Sure, snoring is annoying. And it’s been the root of marital tension since the beginning of time, but snoring is more than irritating. It’s a red flag for sleep apnea.
According to the National Institute of Health, sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths that can last from a few seconds to minutes during sleep. This disturbs the quality of sleep in the short term. In the long term, it can affect overall health.
Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders affect the lives of 50 and 70 million Americans, and lead to a long list of life-impairing and life-threatening side effects:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Weight gain and obesity
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Memory problems
- Job impairment
The bad news doesn’t stop there. Some 90% of stroke victims suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea are over four times more likely to have a heart attack and twice as likely to die in their sleep.
Three-Step Sleep Solution
But you can help turn this around. There are three easy steps to help your patients improve the quality of their sleep (and their lives):
- Get tested. The first step in diagnosing OSA is having your patient take a simple questionnaire that will determine where he or she falls on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. This test can be completed in just a couple of minutes during your patient’s normal visit to your office.
- Sleep Study. If your patient scores 4-5 (low risk), 6-10 (high risk), 11 or more (very high risk) on the Epworth questionnaire, he or she should participate in a sleep study to determine whether the cause is obstructive sleep apnea. The Sleep Center allows your patients to perform a sleep study in the comfort of their own home (as opposed to the inconvenience of spending a night in a traditional sleep center).
- Simple Treatment. A simple dental appliance Moses Appliance, Somnodent Appliance and the Tap Appliance can treat mild to moderate OSA. You can provide a profitable yet affordable appliance in your office. More severe cases of OSA will need treatment with a C-PAP machine that forces continuous positive air at high enough pressure to keep a patient’s airway open while he or she sleeps.
This three-step process save lives. It also builds patient relationships while improving service. What better way to say “I care about you” than helping your patients reclaim their lives by getting a good night’s rest?