Thursday, July 1, 2010

OSA Concerns Grow Among U.S. Military Veterans

An underreported war on the domestic front is beginning to grab the attention of the U.S. military. Veterans are four times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea, and the government is spending more than $500 million per year treating the disorder.

A June report from the Department of Veteran Affairs found more than 63,000 former troops receive benefits for obstructive sleep apnea. Military medical professionals estimate as many as 20 percent of veterans have sleep apnea. That statistic is bound to rise as baby boomers grow older.

A combination of factors makes former troops especially susceptible to sleep-disordered breathing. Veterans who were once physically fit may gain a large amount of weight as they get older because of inactivity due to debilitating injuries or the civilian lifestyle.

Wartime exposure to airborne toxins, smoke and dust in places like Iraq and Afghanistan may also contribute to sleep-disordered breathing.

Many of these veterans use disability benefits to pay for CPAP, the first-line treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Although the treatment is effective in reducing the various risks associated with sleep apnea, it’s estimated between 25 and 50 percent of patients do not comply or tolerate it.

Oral appliance therapy is an effective alternative for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. The treatment is available through a dental sleep specialist near you.
Image courtesy the U.S. Army

No comments:

Post a Comment

Disclaimer

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.