Jan 17

In April 2006, the Institute of Medicine released a 461 page report entitled “Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem” (http://nap.edu). According to the paper, an estimated 50-70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, with the estimated prevalence of OSAS being 4 to 7% of the U.S. The term used to describe excessive sleepiness is hypersomnolence. The statistics regarding the damage caused by this problem are astounding. $150 Billion annually is lost in decreased productivity and accidents. The medical costs from daytime hypersomnolence alone cost another $48 billion. The most shocking of all the statistics listed within the paper is that 20% of all serious car accidents involve daytime hypersomnolence. This statistic is independent of those accidents involving alcohol.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) established “Dentists Against Drowsy Driving” in November 2008. It’s goal is to increase awareness throughout the health professions and the public about the dangers associated with undiagnosed and untreated sleep-related breathing disorders. Dr Zach Hodgins, a dentist practicing in Winter Park, FL, is an expert in treating patients that have been diagnosed by their physicians with OSA. “The problem with sleep-related breathing disorders is that it is a problem that is rarely screened for by most physicians and dentists”, says Dr. Hodgins. Dr. Hodgins recommends that any patient with any signs of sleep apnea see their physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

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