A recent study looked at the link between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Type II Diabetes, and financial status in a group of 209 patients. The study, published in the journal Chronic Illness, found that financial hardship associated with managing these conditions had a large impact on the overall quality of sleep. The researchers wanted to draw attention to this often-overlooked aspect of obstructive sleep apnea.
A Terrible Feedback Loop
- A person suffers from Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS).
- The condition goes unnoticed until…
- It results in obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and full-fledged OSA.
- Then, the patient needs to spend time and money managing their disease.
- In addition, the years of bad sleep have taken a toll on their earning abilities – they haven’t been able to succeed at work because their brains can’t do the work of sleep
- Now, they also have trouble working because of all their chronic health conditions.
- They can’t sleep well, because they’re worried about money.
- The lack of good sleep makes it harder to manage their diabetes, blood pressure, and OSA
- The poorly managed diseases lead to more financial hardship
It’s painful when we first meet a patient in the later stages of this cycle. We do everything in our power to help them get proper treatment, but we could have done so much more if only we’d seen them earlier before irreversible damage was done.
Proactive Treatment Saves Lives and Careers
So what can we, as dentists, do about this? It’s essential to find patients with UARS and to get them treated before the disease can advance. If you want to prevent this cycle, you need to be screening all of your patients at least once a year, referring them out for diagnostics, and providing them treatment options, especially if they can’t tolerate PAP machines.
If you’re not yet practicing sleep dentistry, it’s time to get trained and start a program. Our patients need sleep medicine, and many aren’t getting it from their medical providers. As dental providers, we have a unique perspective to offer and we have treatment options that can change lives.
If you’re ready to get trained in sleep dentistry and start changing lives, register for a course today!