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The Silent Majority of People with Sleep Apnea

If you're reading this, you can pat yourself on the back. You're part of the elite, the "Top Gun" of those with Sleep Apnea. How? Largely just by virtue of knowing that you have Sleep Apnea -- ninety percent of those with Sleep Apnea remain undiagnosed. Moreover, not only are you in the top 90th percentile of the "Sleep Apnea Class," but because you're educating yourself about the disorder and trying to improve your life by actively seeking treatment, you, the members of this forum, are more likely in the top 99th percentile. If those figures don't drive home how special you are, then consider yourself in comparison to others who, like you, have Sleep Apnea.

Here's a common story taken from my own personal experience. My friend Kathy's father is in his early 60s, is overweight, falls asleep in front of the TV, snores so loudly the house shakes, has developed diabetes and suffers from high blood pressure. Kathy thinks her dad should get a sleep test done for Sleep Apnea, as do I. But he refuses to do a sleep study. The reason? His primary care physician told him that he just needs to focus on losing weight, and has never suggested it to him. "If I needed a sleep study done, wouldn't my doctor have told me to get one," is his reasoning. Sadly, as we all know, the answer is no. Most primary care physicians don't screen regularly for sleep disorders, if they're even educated about their symptoms. So Kathy's father will remain on the wrong end of the Sleep Apnea statistic. . . another number to add to the 90% of Americans who have Sleep Apnea, but who have not yet been diagnosed. No skin off the back of his primary care physician, but for Kathy and those who love this man who will likely die a little bit if not a lot earlier than he otherwise would, it's a shame.

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Comment by Mike on April 1, 2009 at 1:09am
it means that, on average, you stop breathing or breathe insufficiently 48 times/hour. severe sleep apnea. needs to be treated or it will take an enormous toll on your heart and the rest of your body.
Comment by Mary E. Dow on April 1, 2009 at 1:05am
What does it mean if I have 48 incidents per hour?
Comment by Anne Pf on March 11, 2009 at 9:38pm
I am so relieved. I am fully in agreement with you, in that case. I honestly can't imagine not getting a data-capable machine if it's an option with your income and health insurance. Why would you NOT have all the information available? It might not be needed -- but then again, I think it is needed in most cases, if only to prove that the machine is doing the job.
Comment by Linda Brown on March 11, 2009 at 7:34pm
Comment by Mike on March 11, 2009 at 5:57pm
sorry, i meant follow this link to the sleep apnea undiagnosed statistic
Comment by Mike on March 11, 2009 at 5:56pm
Linda, here's evidence of the 90% sleep apnea undiagnosed statistic: "Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects approximately 20% of US adults, of whom about 90% are undiagnosed"
Comment by Banyon on March 11, 2009 at 4:59pm

No, I did not advise anyone to buy a machine without a legitimate prescription.

Those comments of mine were directed specifically to Marlene's case. She already has completed two sleep studies and certainly has a prescription or prescriptions for a CPAP machine. If needed, she should be able to buy another machine with her existing prescription.

Marlene is complaining that CPAP is not effective (she gives few details so at least that is my interpretation). A data-capable machine and monitoring software is the only way to ensure a good therapy, IMO.

Comment by Anne Pf on March 11, 2009 at 10:51am
Banyon, Are you advising people to get CPAP machines without any prescription? Or is this for people who have been diagnosed but who are unable to get the machine they need because of insurance problems, etc.?
Comment by Banyon on March 11, 2009 at 8:40am
Mike, Good article. It points out a sad fact of the state of our health: 90% undiagnosed and maybe the majority of PCPs don't have a clue.

Regarding people who ignore their own condition, I may have posted here before a statement I got from someone else, "The biggest health problem in the country is DENIAL."

Marlene, You get my oft-repeated advice. Get on internet forums, learn about data-capable CPAP machines, data cards and monitoring software. Then select and purchase a system. Also learn about masks from the different forums. You may have to try several masks before you find one that works for you. The forums can help direct you with advice on different types of masks and how to fit and adjust them.

95% of the success of CPAP is patient driven. Just do it!
Comment by Linda Brown on March 11, 2009 at 6:38am
How do you come up with that statistic that 90 percent of sufferers of sleep apnea are undiagnosed? How can I believe that?

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