Many people put off getting treatment for sleep apnea because of the potential expense involved. It’s true: getting tested for sleep apnea does cost money (though most people qualify for less expensive home testing). Treatment is not free, either. However, you may not realize how much you’re already paying for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea has wide-reaching effects that can cost you money in many ways. If you add up the costs today and in the future, untreated sleep apnea is certainly more expensive than sleep apnea treatment.
Most Americans consume caffeine every day. However, for most people, having a caffeinated beverage in the morning (coffee or tea) is usually enough. People with sleep apnea often need more caffeine just to stay awake through the day at work.
A recent study estimated that 25-34-year-olds spend over $2000 a year on coffee, while those 35-44 spend over $1400 a year on coffee. That neglects the caffeinated sodas, energy drinks, and more that people use to stay awake through the afternoon. If you have sleep apnea, you’ll be able to dramatically reduce your caffeine intake–and the money you spend on it.
But it isn’t just caffeine that people rely on to stay awake. Many people reach for snacks to help them keep alert at work and throughout the day. Often this comes in the form of spontaneous cravings that you must satisfy by going to a cafe, food cart, or vending machine, which costs more than buying snacks at the grocery store. You might also find yourself spending more on snacks because lack of sleep leads to poor impulse control.
Look at your own snacking habits. If you have sleep apnea, you might be able to cut the costs of snacking if you get treatment.
People with sleep apnea often wake up feeling tired, no matter how long they spend in bed. This makes them pursue solutions to improve their sleep quality, often without realizing the true reason why they aren’t getting good sleep. The result? Americans spend about $100 billion on sleep aids annually. Only about 65% of that is sleeping pills. The rest are special blankets, pajamas, pillows, and more designed to help people get quality sleep. If you’re relying on sleep aids to try to get quality sleep, it’s time to treat your true sleep problem, which might be sleep apnea.
Higher Healthcare Costs
People with sleep apnea tend to be sicker, getting sick more often and seeing the doctor, often for reasons that might not seem to be related to a sleep disorder. Often, people get treatment for conditions that aren’t their true problem.
In addition to doctor’s visits, people with sleep apnea are more likely to have multiple prescriptions at a time. This is not just for sleeping pills, it might also be for related conditions like high blood pressure. (However, sleep apnea often makes high blood pressure resistant to medications.) People with sleep apnea are also commonly prescribed antidepressants, though they may not have depression–sleep apnea symptoms can mimic depression. Drugs for erectile dysfunction also fall into this category–sexual dysfunction and loss of sexual pleasure are common effects of sleep apnea.
In addition to seeing doctors more often, people with sleep apnea often seek counseling. There could be many possible reasons for this. We mentioned depression above, but people with sleep apnea also experience symptoms like other mood disorders. In addition, they may feel a loss of motivation for and joy in the things they used to love.
People with sleep apnea may seek help from relationship or marriage counselors. They may develop irritability, leading to conflicts that they can’t explain or justify. In addition, snoring, commonly associated with sleep apnea, can lead to relationship conflicts because it keeps others in the house from sleeping, too. On top of this, sexual dysfunction and a loss of sexual desire or enjoyment can worsen relationship conflicts.
Poor Job Performance
Another way sleep apnea costs you is that it often leads to poor job performance. People with sleep apnea often have trouble focusing. They have memory problems and have a hard time thinking clearly. They may even doze off at work in the afternoons.
This poor job performance can make it hard for people with sleep apnea to get promotions. In fact, they may lose their job because of sleep apnea, whether they know they have the condition or not.
People with sleep apnea are more likely to be involved in car accidents–up to five times more likely. Although most of the focus is put on the deadly accidents linked to sleep apnea, there are many more injury property-damage-only accidents involving people with sleep apnea.
Increased crash risk not only increases doctor bills, it leads to more expensive and more regular repair bills for the car.
What Does Sleep Apnea Cost You?
So how much does it all come to? Adding up the direct and indirect costs associated with sleep disordered breathing like sleep apnea, they found that it cost up to $16,000 a year per person with the condition (adjusted for inflation).
Of course, you aren’t bearing all these costs yourself, but it’s a hefty bill that dwarfs the cost of sleep apnea treatment, an average of just $2100 a year.
Treat Sleep Apnea in Columbus, OH
Given the high cost of not treating sleep apnea to you and those around you, it seems the only smart financial solution is to start your sleep apnea treatment as soon as possible.
If you are looking to treat your sleep apnea in Columbus, OH, please call (614) 683-4640 or use our online contact form to request an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian.