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If you suffer from sleep apnea, insomnia or both, you could be at a higher risk for many other complications besides the two conditions. Sleep apnea has been linked to everything from hypertension to depression, which on their own are dangerous enough, but now a new study has linked the disorder to an elevated risk of opioid addiction following surgery.

The study was conducted by the Military Health System and examined data from 1,870 people who underwent arthroscopic hip surgery and received Tricare insurance through the military. What researchers found was that among the participants, nearly 9 percent had an insomnia diagnosis and 5 percent were found to have sleep apnea prior to their arthroscopic surgery. Those numbers jumped up to nearly 18 percent with insomnia and 14.3 percent with sleep apnea post-surgery.

Unfortunately, the data got worse from there. Among those with sleep apnea and insomnia, the researchers noted that those patients incurred higher health care costs associated with their hip and attended more doctor’s appointments related to their hips.

This also translated to those patients having a much higher instance of opioid prescriptions. In fact, many had three or more prescriptions within the two years following their surgery. Patients with insomnia and or apnea were found to have a 154 percent and 64 percent higher odds of having more than three opioid prescriptions within two years of their surgery, and they were also found to be still taking opioids a year after their surgery.

So, what does this all mean? With recent reports stating that surgeries such as arthroscopic hip surgery are on the rise, and with millions of newly diagnosed cases of sleep apnea each year, this type of problem could continue to worsen before it gets better. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done about it.

If you feel tired and lethargic throughout the day, or wake frequently at night and don’t know why, speak to Dr. Mingus about getting a sleep study done. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that could have serious repercussions if not treated. Getting a handle on sleep apnea while you are still healthy is the best way to avoid the problems caused by apnea when a medical issue does arise.

There are many ways to treat sleep apnea that don’t involve the old, cumbersome standby, CPAP therapy, including orthotic devices custom made by Dr. Mingus that prop open the airway and allow for better nighttime breathing.

To learn more about sleep apnea and therapy, please contact Dr. Mingus at 541-382-6565.