In today’s fast-paced, high-stress society, chronic exhaustion is not uncommon. Drowsiness, fatigue and poor sleep health have become the norm, making the exploration into underlying causes challenging. After all, everyone’s tired, right?

While stress or lifestyle decisions could be to blame, more than 12 percent of Americans are living with undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The life-threatening illness causes a decrease or cessation in airflow during sleep and can lead to stroke, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression and death.

sleepy-driverAs the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently reported, chronic exhaustion and poor sleep health is taking a tremendous toll on the economy, thanks to reductions in productivity, increases in motor vehicle and workplace accidents, and exacerbation of other health conditions. Undiagnosed sleep apnea costs nearly $150 billion each year in the United States. Overly tired employees’ performance suffers, costing $89.6 billion in lost productivity.Undiagnosed OSA costs $30 billion each year in healthcare utilization, including hospital and ER visits, medications, health complications and mortality rates.

Thanks in part to reduced reaction time and poor judgement while sleepy, motor vehicle and workplace accidents cost upwards of $32 billion. Researchers have found that going sleep apnea18 to 24 hours without sleep is actually similar to being legally drunk in terms of impairment while driving. More than a third of responders to a National Sleep Foundation poll admit they’ve fallen asleep at the wheel. Driver fatigue causes at least 100,000 crashes and more than 1,000 deaths each year.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea would result in $100 billion in savings annually. Obstructive Sleep Apnea screening and diagnoses among professional drivers in the transportation industry is becoming more commonplace. Overall, treatment of sleep apnea can reduce the costs associated with vehicular damage, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and insurance premiums.

Don’t become a statistic

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is taking a tremendous toll on employers, the healthcare industry as a whole and taxpayers. But no one feels the brunt of sleep apnea more than the individuals who suffer from it, and their loved ones. If you or a loved one have poor sleep health and are constantly feeling exhausted, snore, wake in the night gasping for breath, have consistent headaches, are gaining weight with no explanation or have high blood pressure, you could have a sleep disorder. Take our quiz to assess your risk for a sleep disorder, and call Innovative Dental Sleep today at (775) 477-5337 to schedule a consultation and improve your sleep health.