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Sleep Apnea Rates Increasing Among Military Personnel

 

A recent study by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has revealed some startling statistics about sleep apnea, insomnia, and the United States military. It seems that rates of insomnia and sleep apnea among active-duty service members have skyrocketed in recent years (between 2005 to 2019). In fact, insomnia rates went up by 45 times, while sleep apnea rates increased thirtyfold. These alarming stats have raised red flags in the medical community, leaving many doctors scratching their heads.

Sleep apnea is a condition marked by difficulty breathing during sleep. Patients with sleep apnea struggle to breathe while reclined due to an obstruction of the airway. This causes their breathing to stop and restart repeatedly, causing snoring and repeated waking throughout the night. But the trouble doesn’t stop there. During the day sleep apnea can cause cognitive impairment, depression, lethargy, excessive sleepiness and more. It can also contribute to many other conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, alzheimer’s disease, and even some cancers.

So, what do doctors think is behind this increase in sleep apnea and insomnia diagnoses in military patients? While doctors did expect some military patients to have these sleep disorders (the two most common sleep disorders) due to PTSD and other stress-related issues, they were not prepared for the sheer increase in diagnoses. However, they believe the increases may be due largely in part to increased testing in military personnel, thanks to many military bases having on-site medical care.

The great news for military members and civilians alike is that there are sleep apnea treatment options available. Dr. Peterson offers several treatment options, including the Nightlase treatment, or a device known as an MAD (mandibular advancement appliance). Both of these treatments can be very successful depending on the patient and the level of intervention they are seeking.

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or already have a diagnosis, contact Dr. Peterson today. We can refer you to a sleep specialist if needed. To learn more about both mandibular advancement appliances and the Nightlase treatment, please schedule an appointment today to discuss your options with Dr. Peterson.

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