Across the world, it’s estimated that at least 100 million people have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep-related breathing disorder that impacts the ability to breathe during sleep – with 80% of all OSA patients remaining undiagnosed.
This statistic is alarmingly high, especially considering the adverse consequences associated with this common condition. If left untreated, OSA can lead to serious health problems – and in some cases, it may even be fatal.
While Singaporeans are positively seeking ways to address sleep issues, fear continues to hinder individuals from getting diagnosed with sleep conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
What causes OSA to remain as a prevalent, yet underdiagnosed serious condition?
When thinking about the circumstances that perpetuate this failure to diagnose, one thing always comes to mind: fear. Fear not just of the sleep apnea diagnosis itself, but of the treatment options available.
According to Philips’ new global sleep study released in conjunction with World Sleep Day 2021, fear continues to hinder individuals from getting diagnosed for sleep conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). One in five (21%) are afraid to take a sleep test as they don’t want to know if they have OSA, with 17% believing it is not necessary to be treated for OSA.
After an initial OSA diagnosis, there are a million questions that go through patients’ minds, but physicians can work with their patients to determine the best treatment plan for both their condition and their lifestyle. Unfortunately, some OSA sufferers may not seek diagnosis because they fear what comes next, and even worse, some OSA patients do not adhere to their prescribed plans even after they’ve been diagnosed.
As a seldom-discussed, under-diagnosed condition, OSA is characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing throughout the sleep cycle, preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs. As many as 1 in 3 Singaporeans suffer from OSA, and 91% have not been diagnosed.
Symptoms of OSA include:
- choking or gasping for air during sleep
- loud and persistent snoring
- excessive daytime fatigue
- poor concentration during the day
Fight the fear and be self-aware
What many people don’t realize is that sleep apnea therapy has come a long way over the past several decades. Now, there are multiple solutions that have been uniquely designed using a patient-centric approach – improving comfort, ease of use and mobility for sleep apnea patients.
These updates have been made to help ensure that those living with sleep apnea stay adherent to their treatment plans. Now, people suffering from this chronic condition no longer have to fear diagnosis or treatment plans – they can move forward on a path to living more healthy and restful lives.
Individuals can take the first step by taking an online sleep assessment to determine their risk of OSA, and also be aware of symptoms such as loud, persistent snoring, choking or gasping for air during sleep, excessive daytime fatigue and sleepiness routine activities.