Dasman Diabetes Institute recently held a lecture titled “New Developments in Diagnosis and Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea”, which was presented by Dr. Nicolaas de Vries MD PhD, Otolaryngologist at Saint Lucas Andreas Hospital, Amsterdam. The lecture was held at DDI on 17th February 2013. During the lecture; Dr. Nicolaas mentioned “Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most prevalent sleep disordered breathing (SDB) disorder. The prevalence of OSA is rising, as the waistlines (and neck circumferences) and age of the world population increases. As OSA is a relatively new disease entity, much remains to be discovered and improved. Research on OSA is gaining priority. There is an exponential increase in peer-reviewed publications on OSA. A search in the electronic bibliographical database Pubmed leads to more than 1600 research publications on OSA which were published in the year 2012, whilst in 1992, there were just over 200.”

Dr. Nicolaas also added “Not only is research imperative, awareness amongst primary care physicians, as well as the general population should be raised. Awareness is crucial, especially since it is estimated that many patients with OSA remain undiagnosed. Treatment of OSA is of utmost importance. An increasing amount of literature is being published on the negative health consequences of untreated OSA. Not only does untreated OSA cause impairment of quality of life, epidemiological studies have shown significant independent associations between OSA and hypertension, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, heart failure, and stroke.”

“Furthermore, untreated OSA increases healthcare utilization and is associated with reduced work performance, traffic accidents and occupational injuries. In this day and age, it seems that healthcare and clinical practice is dictated by insurance companies. Each country has its own internal guideline in dictating at which severity OSA with or without the presence of comorbities, coverage is provided. In many countries if at all, only costs of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) are reimbursed or machine rental is subsidised. The economic burden of OSA (health costs, lost productivity, accidents, loss of life quality) is substantial, accounting for billions of dollars per year and is expected to increase.” Dr. Nicolaas added.