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American College of Physicians Releases New Guidelines for Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea

sleep apneaMore than 18 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea – though the vast majority of individuals who have this sleep disorder remain undiagnosed. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health issues – including cardiovascular disease, weight gain, headaches and high blood pressure – but the good news is that it’s relatively easy to diagnose and treat.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) recently published a press release announcing new recommendations for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – the most common type of this disorder.

According to the source, the ACP recommends that doctors assess patients who have unexplained daytime sleepiness to determine if they suffer from OSA.

Part of the ACP’s mission is to provide High Value Care advice to doctors and patients so that they can better understand the advantages, risks and costs of various testing and treatment options for OSA. The overall goal is to improve patient health while eliminating wasteful practices.

Dr. David Fleming, president of the ACP, explained that diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea is considered High Value Care. On the other hand, “assessing patients for OSA in the absence of daytime sleepiness […] is low value care because the evidence indicates that it does not improve clinical outcomes,” states the press release.

While there are different ways to diagnose OSA, the ACP recommends that patients who experience unexplained daytime sleepiness undergo a full-night polysomnography (PSG) in a sleep laboratory. If PSG is not an option, a home-based portable monitor is the second-best method of diagnose, according to the ACP.

For more information about the ACP’s guidelines, click here.