Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To Comply or Not To Comply?

Patient compliance is a major issue in sleep apnea treatment.

CPAP is the first line of treatment for sleep apnea patients. But patient CPAP adherence is not as high as doctors would like. When patients do not treat their sleep apnea, they have a higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Because of these risks, many patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea choose to use oral appliance therapy instead of CPAP. Oral appliances allow people to treat their apnea in a silent, non-invasive way.

As in sleep medicine, physicians treating high cholesterol are faced with compliance problems.

In a recent Reuter's article, Dr. Amir Shroufi explained why statins are not as effective as they could be.

Statins lower people’s "bad," low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol. Like sleep apnea treatments, these drugs can reduce the risk of heart attacks or stroke. But experts estimate that only 50 percent of people prescribed statins take them in the long term.

A recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that encouraging patients to continue taking their prescribed cholesterol drugs would prevent twice as many stroke and heart attack deaths as giving the drugs to a wider range of people.

"Generally people need to be taking these statins for the long term -- often for the rest of their lives," said Dr. Shroufi.

He said the best way to boost patient adherence is for doctors to give a clear explanation of the long-term benefits of the treatment.

Are you suffering from sleep apnea but not comfortable with CPAP? Find-a-dentist in your area trained in oral appliance therapy.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.