Editorial Advocates Sleep Status as a Vital Sign


The World Journal of Diabetes recently declared what many sleep specialists have been preaching for years now, sleep health should be considered a “vital sign” much like blood pressure.


The editorial, published last month, reminds readers that, “Significant emphasis has been placed on obtaining blood pressure, body mass index, and placing importance on screening for signs and symptoms pointing towards cardiovascular disease. Symptoms related to sleep, or screening for sleep apnea has been overlooked by cardiac, diabetic, pulmonary and general medicine clinics despite recommendations for screening by several societies.”

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Researcher Slim R. Surani further declares that “In recent years, there is mounting data where obesity and obstructive sleep apnea sit at the epicenter and its control can lead to improvement and prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular complications. This editorial raises questions as to why obstructive sleep apnea screening should be included as yet another vital sign during patient initial inpatient or outpatient visit.”


Surani points out that data links obstructive sleep apnea to a majority of chronic illnesses. In addition to the illness, untreated OSA increases the health care utilization, impairs work place efficiency, occupational injuries and increase healthcare utilization leading to billions of dollars in economic burden worldwide. He agrees with the widely-disseminated claim that as much as 85% of the patients with clinically significant and treatable OSA have never been diagnosed.


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