Sleep apnea has been part of the human experience centuries before Charles Dickens’ ‘Pickwick Papers’ actually made it part of our culture in the 19th century. At that time, however, most of the focus was on one of the character’s obesity rather than the sleeping disorder associated with it. It wasn’t till the early ‘60s that the complexity and variability of expression associated with sleep disorders was more fully appreciated as the use of polysomnography made it possible to fully document apneas during sleep. Soon we were able to begin to effectively address the disorder’s etiologies thanks to the proliferation of Sleep Centers around the globe. As a result, all sorts of therapeutic approaches evolved ranging from drug & inhalation therapies, to various surgical and appliance methodologies/gizmologies. But how far have we progressed in effectively managing or eliminating this condition as now more reports document its worldwide impact. Its prevalence persists at ever-higher rates across a wider variety of ethnic groups, and even increasing in the pediatric population as well. What have we accomplished to date in sleep medicine? Why are matters apparently getting worse in this field? What is it that we are missing? Where should we better focus our efforts? This presentation will attempt to address these concerns by: reviewing the history of sleep-disorders and our accomplishments in managing them. It will focus on how we as healthcare providers can help our patients better manage their conditions beyond the mere use of intraoral appliances.
Discuss the historical & epidemiological ramifications associated with sleep-disordered breathing disorders.
Identify the multivariate etiology behind sleep apnea and other sleep-disordered breathing conditions.
Offer better options needed to help manage the care for sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing patients.