Sleep disorders affect worker productivity and cause weight gain, hypertension, diabetes and other conditions that increase overall healthcare costs
Philadelphia, PA (RUSHPRNEWS) July 25, 2008 — Sleep disorders not only affect worker productivity, but also cause weight gain that leads to hypertension, diabetes and other debilitating medical conditions, according to Dr. Benjamin Gerson, medical director of University Services, a sleep diagnostic and treatment provider in Philadelphia.
Increased health concerns then result in increased healthcare costs to the employer. “58 million days of work are missed each year due to obesity related health issues,” Dr. Gerson commented during a presentation at the World Congress Executive Forum on Rewards & Incentives to Improve Employee Health (http://www.worldcongress.com/events/HL08077/), held June 10-11 in Dallas.
Body Mass Index (or BMI) is calculated from a person’s height and weight to indicate body fatness and screen for health problems.
Approximately 10-15% of the obese population has a sleep disorder. More specifically, those with sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that causes individuals to stop breathing momentarily during the night, typically are considered obese with a BMI of 30 or greater. He also said the increasing prevalence of metabolic syndrome which is the combination of Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity can be attributed to sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea affects two hormones – leptin, which suppresses appetite, and ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Leptin and ghrelin levels fluctuate in sleep deprived individuals, leaving them feeling hungry during the day and susceptible to overeating. Sleep apnea also increases excessive daytime sleepiness, which leaves people feeling lethargic during the day and negatively impacts their exercise routine. Until the underlying sleep disorder is corrected, simple diet and exercise will not suffice. “A link definitely exists between sleep loss and obesity,” Dr. Gerson stated.
Healthcare costs increase 2.3% with each BMI unit increase. By correcting the obesity epidemic with a healthy lifestyle, good eating habits, daily exercise, and treating sleep concerns, an individual is more likely to increase their overall fitness goals. These activities are possible in a work environment that values employee health day and night.
ABOUT UNIVERSITY SERVICES
University Services, a multi-specialty medical services organization, provides sleep diagnostic and treatment in seven sleep centers located throughout the southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and northern Delaware. Each offer state-of-the-art overnight testing facilities with private bedrooms, bathrooms, and the comforts of home. Convenient at home testing options are also available.
If you’d like information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Dr. Benjamin Gerson, please call Crystal Parsons at 215-637-6800 or e-mail Crystal at cparsons @ uservices.com