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32241 Crown Valley Parkway #200
Dana Point, CA 92629 | Directions

Healthcare provider explains why all medical disciplines need to be proactive in apnea diagnosis


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doctor explaining to patient
Undiagnosed sleep apnea can lead to a host of medical problems, and eventually death. The low rate of diagnosis is not a shortcoming in one type of specialist, but of the medical community as a whole. Virtually every medical specialty is presented with, and often overlooks, signs of apnea, as explained by Dr. Bertrand De Silva during the Airway Focused Dentistry Mini-Residency sessions. The course was co-developed by Dana Point dentist, Dr. Mark A Cruz.

Apnea is a multidisciplinary issue

During his talk, Dr. De Silva gave some examples of the many specialists who see apnea-related conditions:
  • Cardiologist - Pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, thoracic aortic dilation
  • Pulmonologist – Asthma, COPD, pulmonary hypertension, respiratory failure
  • Neurologist – Headaches, dizziness, decreased memory, seizures, stroke
  • OBGYN - Pregnancy can exacerbate apnea
  • Ear, nose, throat specialist – Snoring
  • Endocrinologist – Diabetes, low testosterone
  • Pediatrician – ADD/ADHD, stunted growth
  • Ophthalmologist – Certain eye problems are associated with apnea
  • Rheumatologist – CFS, Fibromyalgia,
  • Psychiatrist – Depression, anxiety, bipolar, ADD/ADHD
  • Dentist – Orthodontic problems, snoring, bruxism
  • Urologist – Infertility

Signs of apnea

Dr. De Silva also talked about how doctors can detect patients who are at risk for apnea, including visible signs as well as symptoms that could be revealed with a short discussion. These include:
  • Frequent fatigue, excess daytime sleepiness, or lack of feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Congestive heart failure along with nocturnal angina or cardiovascular disease
  • Overweight or obese individuals
  • Patients who have a large neck (17 inches for men; 16 inches for women)
  • Loud snoring, or pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Waking up frequently, especially with choking
  • Cognitive problems such as memory loss
  • Depression, irritability, moodiness
Dr. Cruz and Dr. De Silva, are part of a group of dedicated healthcare providers, who are working to facilitate better awareness, screening, diagnostics, and treatment of apnea throughout the medical community.

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