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Police Often Have Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders

It has been estimated that sleep problems affect one-third to one-half of all Americans causing a huge toll on the individuals and on society as a whole. In a recent screening of almost 5,000 police officers in the US and Canada, about 40% of them tested positive for at least 1 type of sleep disorder. The most common was obstructive sleep apnea.

Dr. William Kohler of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine stated “Police officers are obviously a very important group because they are there to protect us, and unfortunately, at times when they are distracted because of tiredness, they are at risk to themselves and others.”

Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with being overweight and about a third of the officers in the study had a BMI higher than 30. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues of the mouth and throat relax during sleep and block the airway. The sleeper stops breathing for several seconds until the lack of oxygen causes a partial wakening to begin breathing again. The sleeper does not remember these episodes which can occur from a few to hundreds of times each night. The bed partner of the sleeper is also wakened frequently because of the loud snoring and gasping for breath that accompanies the disorder. Both partners feel exhausted the next day.

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea is associated with cardiovascular disease, stroke, weight gain and increased risk of accident. Treatment usually begins with CPAP but many patients find it difficult to tolerate sleeping with machines. Oral appliance therapy is proven to be an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and is available in the Columbus, OH area from Dr. Mark Levy.

Police officers are not the only ones that need a good nights sleep in order to perform their jobs. Contact StoneRidge Dental Care today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.