Yet another great study showing the high risk of heart attacks in patients who have OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). This is a wake up call for physicians to routinely access their patients for major risk factors associated with Sleep Apnea.
Patients who are:
- overweight (BMI above 32)
- have high blood pressure
- have lipid imbalance (high cholesterol) and
- neck size above 17 inches for men and 16 for women
should be tested for OSA.
This is an area where routine update on health histories in a dental office can “save a patient’s life”. Once it is noted that a dental patient has these conditions, they should be referred back to their physician with an Epworth Sleepiness Questionaire for futher testing for Sleep Apnea.
Dentist should partner with physicians in diagnosing and successfully managing sleep apnea patients. Six month cleaning recalls and medical history updates can help evaluate sleep apnea treatment as well as discover those patients who are most at risk from sleep apnea and heart disease.
Don H Lowrance, MS, DDS, CCN
Corpus Christi Sleep Dentist