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Exercise Test to Screen for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

from By Trent A. Hargens, Ph.D.

Sleep disorders, of which obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common, pose a significant personal and public health risk. Not only does OSA increase risks of hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure and cardiovascular disease, but it also accounts for a five-fold increase in the risk of motor vehicle accidents. As a result, OSA is a health problem that should concern all of us.

Recent estimates suggest that as many as one in four American adults are at risk for and should be evaluated for OSA. As age and obesity are prime risk factors for this disorder, we should expect the prevalence to increase as our population ages and becomes more obese. Unfortunately, the majority of at-risk individuals goes undiagnosed for OSA, probably due to the high cost of testing and treatment, inconvenience, and long wait time for full-night polysomnography (PSG) testing, which remains the gold standard test for diagnosis. Simpler and more cost-effective screening tools are clearly needed to improve the risk stratification and clinical decision-making that lead to patient selection for diagnostic PSG testing. If we can optimize screening and selection for PSG testing, we can conserve costs and allow the patients to be tested who most need assessment. more

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