How much is poor sleep costing you?

How much is poor sleep costing you?

Sleepless nights might be costing you more than the price of your daily coffee. Last week, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine released research estimating that undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) cost the United States almost 150 billion dollars in 2015. This tally includes 86.9 billion in lost productivity, 26.2 billion in motor vehicle accidents and 6.5 billion in workplace accidents.

The report, prepared by research firm Frost & Sullivan, goes on to say that while 5.9 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with OSA, 23.5 million (or 12 percent of the U.S. population) remain undiagnosed.

“Patients tend not to bring up the fact that they are not sleeping well,” say Dr. David Koh, pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist with Advocate Heart Institute at BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “Therefore, a relatively small number of sleep disorders are actually diagnosed and treated. The majority of individuals with sleep concerns will do nothing about it. A fair number will use alcohol to deal with their sleep problems, which I do not recommend.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine describes obstructive sleep apnea as a sleep-related breathing disorder characterized by repetitive episodes or complete or partial upper airway obstruction occurring during sleep. Symptoms may include snoring, gasping or choking during sleep and daytime sleepiness or fatigue.

According to Koh, if you have sleep apnea, you are putting your heart under stress. In fact, sleep apnea can be a contributing factor to high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias such as a-fib, sudden cardiac death, heart attacks and congestive heart failure.

Treatments options include weight loss, use of a CPAP machine, oral appliances and/or surgery. In a companion report, Frost & Sullivan report that approximately 78 percent of sleep apnea patients they surveyed reported sleep apnea treatment was a good investment.

“Patient often report that they feel like a new person after receiving treatment for sleep apnea,” said Dr. Ronald Chervin, AASM president in a new release. “Restoring and maintaining healthy sleep is essential for the achievement of optimal health. We encourage people to seek care from a board-certified sleep medicine physician if they experience any symptoms of a sleep disorder.”


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About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.