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Options sought - Dx and Treatment of OSA
#1
I was diagnosed with severe OSA a bit over a year ago and ultimately put on a BiPAP machine. After my diagnosis, I started digging into OSA symptoms and effects, trying to learn everything I could - which included a lot of reading on this forum.

One thing that struck me immediately is how obvious my symptoms were - for at least 20 years before my diagnosis, and yet not one doctor had ever suggested that I should be tested for OSA until last year.

I'm suspecting that my OSA story is not unique or even rare. The folks on this forum know that OSA is a silent killer, but my perception is that awareness among the general public and the wider medical community is not what it should be.

Much like greater awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure and the importance of treatment have led to significant reductions in heart attacks and strokes, I believe that there's a huge opportunity to save or improve millions of lives through greater awareness and treatment of OSA.

I know there are quite a few people on this forum who are much more knowledgeable about the symptoms and detection of OSA than I, so I'm asking for your insights - Do you think I'm correct in my assertion that the #1 need in the detection of OSA is increased awareness? Is this a cause that needs champions? I'm at a stage in my life where I'm looking for a new passion to pursue, and working to increase awareness of OSA, the silent killer, is definitely a cause I can get behind in a big way.

I'm aware of the American Sleep Association, but are there other organizations that are working to increase awareness of OSA that I should be aware of?

Thanks for your insights!

-cd
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#2
I think that your assumption is correct. My primary care physician told me that I was the first patient of hers to be diagnosed with sleep apnea. I'd estimate that she has been in practice for over 25 years. Statistics suggest that a lot of her patients over the years also had sleep apnea. She knew what it was, but I don't think it comes to the front of the mind when diagnosing patient complaints. Have you read Dr. Steven Park's book Sleep interrupted? If not, I highly recommend it to you. In addition to covering the causes and treatment, it spends a lot of time covering the follow-on effects of untreated sleep breathing problems. The extent of the possible complications and affected areas was eye opening. I gave my copy to my doctor.
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#3
(12-13-2016, 12:26 PM)chill Wrote: ...Have you read Dr. Steven Park's book Sleep interrupted? If not, I highly recommend it to you. In addition to covering the causes and treatment, it spends a lot of time covering the follow-on effects of untreated sleep breathing problems. The extent of the possible complications and affected areas was eye opening. I gave my copy to my doctor.

Thank you for mentioning that book - I've heard of it, but I haven't read it. I'll track a copy down and read it.
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#4
D'oh! I noticed too late that I'd made a typo in the subject line - it was supposed to be "Opinions sought" but somewhere between my brain and my fingers the message got garbled Smile
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#5
If you never tell your doc that you are often drowsy or tired, then I don't suppose they would ever consider it. Docs can't tell their patients to consider a sleep study unless they know you have a problem.
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#6
(12-14-2016, 04:18 PM)Mosquitobait Wrote: If you never tell your doc that you are often drowsy or tired, then I don't suppose they would ever consider it. Docs can't tell their patients to consider a sleep study unless they know you have a problem.

Guess what - I wasn't drowsy or sleepy.

But what I was looking for with this thread was to get was opinions on the need for greater awareness of OSA among the general public and the medical community.
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#7
I work at my state's health department, in the maternal and child health section. Just for curiosity, I did a literature search at http://www.pubmed.gov on apnea and pregnancy ... and guess what? It can be associated with poor outcomes for the mother and for the child.

You might hook up with any local groups working to reduce infant mortality - March of Dimes, local health departments, etc. - and help them identify or create materials or education opportunities for the docs to learn more about apnea, how to screen for it, who in the community treats it, and so on.
                                                                                                                                                                                  
Please organize your SleeyHead screenshots like this.
I'm an epidemiologist, not a medical provider. 
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#8
As another point of data, I find that people around me (West Coast, Canada) generally don't know what sleep apnea is. This fall I spend a month in Spain with my wife (yeah, rough life, I know...). Between getting a failed machine replaced, answering questions, and donating the machine before I left, I got to talk to quite a few Spaniards about sleep apnea. Very few people did not immediately recognize the name (in Spanish of course). I was quite surprised.

I, for one, do think this is something that is relatively wide spread, harmful in many ways, and not in most people's awareness.
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#9
I know of a number of people, including family members, that are aware they should deal with a probable sleep apnea issue...but they don't. I think there is plenty of awareness, but acknowledging this physical problem, and accepting a blower and mask for life is just not how they want to see themselves. Lots of people need to lose weight, but you don't see them actively changing lifestyles either. I think there is a lot of awareness, but resistance to acceptance or to take action to resolve the problem.
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#10
(12-14-2016, 09:44 PM)Beej Wrote: I work at my state's health department, in the maternal and child health section. Just for curiosity, I did a literature search at http://www.pubmed.gov on apnea and pregnancy ... and guess what? It can be associated with poor outcomes for the mother and for the child.

You might hook up with any local groups working to reduce infant mortality - March of Dimes, local health departments, etc. - and help them identify or create materials or education opportunities for the docs to learn more about apnea, how to screen for it, who in the community treats it, and so on.

That's a great idea, thanks!

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