DARIEN, IL – As the nation recognizes National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day on Tuesday, June 27, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine urges U.S. House legislators to co-sponsor House Resolution 46, which expresses support for soldiers and veterans with obstructive sleep apnea and PTSD.
The resolution seeks to raise awareness of obstructive sleep apnea, support access to care for soldiers and veterans with sleep disorders, and promote continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy as an effective treatment option for sleep apnea in patients with PTSD. H. Res. 46 also encourages soldiers and veterans to practice healthy sleep habits.
“There is a high prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea and post-traumatic stress disorder among combat veterans and soldiers returning from active duty,” said AASM President Dr. Ilene Rosen. “The American Academy of Sleep Medicine urges more legislators to show their support for our veterans by co-sponsoring this important resolution.”
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder characterized by repetitive episodes of complete or partial upper airway obstruction occurring during sleep. Untreated, severe sleep apnea increases the risk of other medical problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Research suggests that the likelihood of sleep apnea is higher among veterans than in the general population. A study of younger veterans of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan found that 69 percent were at high risk for sleep apnea. Another study of 200 consecutive patients with PTSD who underwent sleep evaluations at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center found that 57 percent were diagnosed with OSA.
The most common treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, which uses mild levels of air pressure, provided through a mask, to keep the throat open while you sleep. Research suggests that CPAP also reduces PTSD-associated nightmares and improves overall PTSD symptoms in veterans with sleep apnea.
About H. Res. 46
The bipartisan resolution was introduced by lead sponsor Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Member of the House Committee on Armed Services; and is co-sponsored by Rep. Timothy Walz (D-MN), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus; Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee; and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). It also has received support from the American Legion.
About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) improves sleep health and promotes high quality, patient-centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards. The AASM has a combined membership of 10,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals.