Monday, May 5, 2008

Epworth Sleepiness Scale

One of the questionnaires that most dentists rely on when taking a history for sleep apnea is called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale measures the likelihood that one will fall asleep inappropriately under a variety of daytime conditions but does not specifically test for sleep apnea. So when answering the questions on the test, be aware that many problems including sleep apnea will lead to a positive result.

"Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is commonly assumed to be the result of disturbed or inadequate sleep" wrote Dr Edward Bixler and colleagues at Penn State University. Bixler studied other possible causes of excessive daytime sleepiness and found that EDS is also associated with mood disorders as well as metabolic factors like obesity and/or diabetes. Depression was found to be the biggest risk factor followed by BMI, age, typical sleep duration, diabetes and smoking.

Patients with a high Epworth score should be evaluated by their physician whether or not sleep-disordered brething is present.

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