Obstructive Sleep Apnea is defined as a blockage of airflow during sleep. This can happen due to a narrow or weak airway, the tongue falling into the back of the throat, or the jaw dropping as we reach a relaxed state of sleep. The most common indicators of Sleep Apnea are presence of snoring, pauses in breathing, or gasping for air while sleeping.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea conservatively affects over 20 million people in America, with an estimated 80% being untreated. OSA prevalence has skyrocketed over the past two decades as the obesity rate has grown. While being overweight increases the likelihood of having OSA, many fit Americans suffer from OSA as well. The prevalence of OSA is nearing epidemic proportions in this country leaving health care professionals extremely concerned about the long term effects associated with this syndrome.
Sleep Apnea has many detrimental effects on the body ranging from fatigue, weight gain, and memory loss to diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. This is not a syndrome that should be ignored. The risks are far too great to ignore. Fortunately treatment options are better than ever before, with less invasive and more patient-compliant options available with proven results.
Treatment of OSA traditionally has relied on CPAP therapy, which requires the use of a continuous positive air pressure machine that connects to the afflicted person’s nose and mouth, forcing the airway to stay open. While this method of treatment is highly successful in correcting the condition, its effectiveness is thwarted by the level of non-compliance in the patients who are fitted with the device. Nearly 60% of CPAP owners are not using their therapy machines as directed. Common reasons for non-compliance include comfort issues, embarrassment, inconvenience, claustrophobia, and irritation.
The noncompliance rate is significant enough that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine no longer recommends CPAP therapy as its first choice of treatment in mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea. In fact, they recommend an oral appliance that can be fitted by a dentist trained in OSA therapy.
Patient compliance, while inherently important to treat the syndrome, has become a hot button issue recently from an employment perspective. DC Metro along with many other transportation authorities and businesses have been requiring that employees suffering from OSA prove they are complying with treatment or risk suspension and loss of employment. Unfortunately, until now, the only therapy that was available with a compliance monitor was CPAP therapy.
The compliance chip reads ambient temperature of the mouth providing date and time stamps of when the appliance is being used. It is easily downloaded and provided to employers. It will store 100 days’ worth of data without overwriting. This allows for ease of use between dentist, employee and employer. This also provides those who are CPAP intolerant an option for staying employed.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates that 80 to 90% of adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) remain undiagnosed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes per year,resulting in at least 1,550 deaths. Leaving OSA undiagnosed or untreated is extremely risky!
Disclaimer: This information is provided for education purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for sound clinical judgment or decision making, or professional experience relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition. Users should review the Instructions For Use for detailed information regarding the Instructions For Use, Contraindications, Potential Adverse Events, Warnings, and Cautions prior to using the device.
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