Previous studies have connected sleep apnea with everything from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, dementia, glaucoma, and a variety of other serious illnesses.
It has also been found to be responsible for many accidents, including on the road.
But what has saving money got to do with all this?
A new study by an American research, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, actually reveals how treating sleep apnea can save you money.
Researchers collected records of 1,098 patients who had been diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea and who had also used positive airway pressure (PAP) treatments to alleviate their condition.
When investigating these participant’s adherence to the treatment, they found that 60 percent of them used it for at least 70 percent of the nights for more than four hours. On average, they used it for 5.3 hours.
They counted their participant’s number of overall acute care visits, emergency department visits, inpatient visits and stays, and the associated costs. Scheduled medical procedures like chemotherapy and other expected surgeries were excluded.
The strongest association was between PAP use and inpatient visits. For every one hour per night increase in PAP use, the participants experienced an eight percent decrease in inpatient visits.
For every one hour participants used PAP per night, they reduced their overall acute care visits by four percent. Those who used it for four hours a night cut inpatient visits by 38 percent and acute care visits by 26.
Moral of the story?
Those that adhered to the treatment were likely to have fewer (if any) medical visits, be it emergency or non-emergency ones, thus they had less to pay and ultimately reduced their healthcare costs.