Educating About Sleep Apnea
Education is important for patients and can be vital in those with both treated and untreated sleep apnea. Patients are usually resistant to trying other forms of sleep apnea treatment when they have had a negative experience with CPAP or other treatment methods. It is important to provide your patients with an overall picture of how untreated sleep apnea could effect their health.
The most common knowledge is that undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea can worsen hypertension (high blood pressure). Just the same treating your sleep apnea could improve your hypertension symptoms and even lead to adjustments in medications. People with obstructive sleep apnea are also more likely to have heart attacks due to the added stress on their body of waking frequently or not receiving enough oxygen.
Being overweight can also cause sleep apnea to worsen just as losing weight can improve your sleep apnea symptoms. Some patients have also reported their asthma symptoms improving when their sleep apnea is treated. There are patient reports of acid reflux being a problem in untreated sleep apnea too.
It’s not just medical conditions that could be aggravated. Fatigue and weariness from inadequate sleep can lead to accidents at home, at work and while traveling. These accidents can cause injury or fatality not just to the patient but to their family, friends or even strangers. It is vital, for personal and public safety, to have your sleep apnea well-controlled and treated. If your patient is weary of trying a sleep apnea appliance try letting them see a model one you keep in your office or letting them read patient testimonials. Some labs will even refund the lab fee if you return the original appliance to them so providers that are especially confident in their product will offer a refund situation in the event the patient just cannot use the appliance.