|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 294
Obstructive sleep apnea: Awareness among health-care professionals – dilemma or reality?
Salman Assad, Usman Ghani, Touqeer Sulehria, Yousaf Ajam
Department of Internal Medicine, Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad, Pakistan
|Date of Web Publication||20-Dec-2016|
Department of Internal Medicine, Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Assad S, Ghani U, Sulehria T, Ajam Y. Obstructive sleep apnea: Awareness among health-care professionals – dilemma or reality?. Arch Med Health Sci 2016;4:294
|How to cite this URL:|
Assad S, Ghani U, Sulehria T, Ajam Y. Obstructive sleep apnea: Awareness among health-care professionals – dilemma or reality?. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 Mar 27];4:294. Available from: http://www.amhsjournal.org/text.asp?2016/4/2/294/196213
Sleep disorders are classified in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) which is undoubtedly a tool for clinical practice and research in sleep disorders medicine. Epidemiologic studies from 1993 to 2013 have shown a rising prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), reporting as many as 22% of men and 17% of women suffering from this disease. With increasing prevalence reported, it is imperative that professional education must be promoted among health-care professionals to spread awareness of this disorder. OSA is a chronic sleep disorder manifested as intermittent episodes of apnea and hypopnea due to obstruction of pharyngeal airway. A widely accepted definition is a polysomnographic measurement of apnea–hypopnea index more than five events per hour. Clinical presentation of OSA is nonspecific with a myriad of symptoms including excessive daytime sleepiness, early morning headaches, and snoring during sleep. The strongest risk factor identified for OSA is obesity, and increased body mass index is correlated with a higher prevalence of this disease. Other risk factors include male gender, advanced age, and soft tissue abnormalities in the pharyngeal region. The seventh report of the Joint National Committee on the detection and treatment of raised blood pressure identifies OSA as a significant risk factor for hypertension.
Various surveys have been conducted to assess the knowledge perception about OSA among health-care professionals. These include identifying OSA as a potential risk factor associated with cardiovascular and neurological comorbidities. Sharma and Srijithesh  conducted a survey among health-care practitioners and medical students in a tertiary care hospital in South India. The survey was aimed at assessing the awareness about OSA being a risk factor for stroke and hypertension. The survey revealed poor awareness among health-care professionals in recognizing OSA as an established risk factor for hypertension and ischemic stroke. In another survey by Reuveni et al., the awareness levels of OSA were assessed in thirty primary care physicians in Israel. The authors found that the majority of primary care physicians did not inquire about pertinent patient history for the diagnosis of OSA, and only half of them addressed the potential cardiovascular complications associated with OSA. In addition, the level of counseling abilities of primary care physicians was highly inadequate. More efforts have to be put into creating awareness among health-care professionals regarding understanding, treating, and counseling of OSA.
It has been shown that training medical students about OSA using a lecture and case-based discussion aids in identification of the consequences of sleep problems and emphasizes the public health implications of complications of sleep disorders. During residency training, grand rounds and case presentations should be utilized as opportunities to recognize sleep disorders in particular OSA. Greater awareness about sleep-related problems can be provided by introduction of topics on sleep in routine medical student clinical evaluations. Nurses can participate to promote sleep and health awareness, providing primary care facilities, spreading knowledge to patients, and increasing patients' compliance with treatment. Hence, it is vital that the educational curriculum for health-care professionals at undergraduate and postgraduate levels should include the undermined topic of OSA.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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