Rapid Recap: AWAKETOGETHER Summit
The American Sleep Apnea Association’s annual AWAKETOGETHER Summit for patients with sleep apnea took place in mid-September at the Presidio in San Francisco, California. I had the opportunity to attend this summit – also known as “Sleeptember” – to get a view of the patient-side of sleep apnea education.
The one-day conference was focused on empowering patients with knowledge about the disorder, different treatment options and networking, as well as patient advocacy. The day was packed with speakers from various specialties and emphasized a team approach to diagnosis and management.
There were patient panel discussions on aspects such as difficulties in getting the correct diagnosis, as well as living with un-diagnosed sleep apnea for years. I’m sure we have all heard these stories from our own patients.
Continuing to get the word out to educate people about sleep apnea at a younger age was another theme. One speaker presented information about suicide rates in those with sleep disorders. Timing of the suicide attempts was interesting, as that occurred after 2 a.m. Are you thinking insomnia like I am?
The conference also offered a “round robin”, in which specialists and vendors from different areas of focus in sleep apnea were available for small group presentations throughout the day. Specialists and vendors included an occupational therapist who discussed exercises to keep the tongue against the hard palate for better mouth closure for CPAP mask seal, a psychologist who focused on cognitive behavioral therapies and a vendor representing the new Phrenic Nerve Stimulator for central sleep apnea.
The day ended with a tribute to Christian Guilleminault, MD, his vision to diagnose sleep apnea in the pediatric population and his RUN (Right Under your Nose) campaign. To learn more about the summit, go to www.sleepapnea.org.