Dr Chitra Lal: Low Threshold Screening Needed for OSA

Chitra Lal, MD, D-ABSM, FCCP, FAASM, FACP, ATSF, professor of medicine at Medical University of South Carolina, says that the screening threshold for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) should be low because 70% to 75% of patients with mild cognitive impairment have sleep apnea.

Screening for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) early and treating it aggressively may help reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment, says Chitra Lal, MD, D-ABSM, FCCP, FAASM, FACP, ATSF, professor of medicine at Medical University of South Carolina, in this interview from the 2023 American Thoracic Society (ATS) International Conference.

Transcript

What are some of the challenges associated with treating patients with OSA and Alzheimer disease and what do you think more providers should know about this population?

I think it's important to recognize that sleep apnea is a modifiable risk factor for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease, and therefore recognizing it early and treating it aggressively would be the key. Providers should have a low threshold for screening for sleep apnea in this patient population because there are studies which have shown that at least 70% to 75% of patients with mild cognitive impairment are proven to have sleep apnea. So, I think diagnosing it early and treating it aggressively is extremely important.

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