The national “More than a Snore” campaign is launching to raise awareness of obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic disease that involves the repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep. The campaign is a collaborative project funded through a grant awarded to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
“This campaign will raise national awareness of obstructive sleep apnea and encourage undiagnosed patients to advocate for themselves and seek treatment,” said Jennifer Martin, a licensed clinical psychologist and president of the AASM. “It is important that patients and health care professionals feel confident to discuss sleep apnea and identify the optimal, personalized treatment plan.”
Obstructive sleep apnea affects nearly 30 million adults in the U.S. Approximately 80% of these cases are undiagnosed, costing the U.S. more than $149 billion annually in health care costs, lost work productivity, and workplace and motor vehicle accidents.
Warning signs for obstructive sleep apnea include snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. This campaign will inform the public that untreated sleep apnea is “More than a Snore,” affecting a person’s long-term health and quality of life. Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and depression. Sleep apnea should be discussed with a healthcare professional to determine if testing and treatment are necessary. Primary care professionals and specialists who see patients for routine health care should screen their patients for sleep apnea if they exhibit any of these warning signs.
There are numerous treatments for sleep apnea, including CPAP therapy, which uses mild levels of air pressure, provided through a mask, to keep the throat open during sleep. Oral appliances, weight loss, surgery, and positional therapy also can be options for treatment.
This multi-year campaign was created through the Count on Sleep partnership, a collaboration between several professional and patient-focused organizations led by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. Other partnering organizations are the Alliance of Sleep Apnea Partners, American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American College of Chest Physicians, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, American Thoracic Society, and National Sleep Foundation. These organizations are committed to raising awareness of obstructive sleep apnea and providing expertise to educate the public and healthcare professionals.
Tools for Practitioners: Resources to assist the public and healthcare professionals in recognizing sleep apnea are available on the Count on Sleep website at http://www.countonsleep.org.