Sleep Disorders in Primary Care Practice

  • Richard D. SimonJr.
  • Eric M. Ball
  • Jennings C. FalconII
Part of the Current Clinical Practice book series (CCP)


In 1991, the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, composed of the nation’s premier sleep medicine specialists and chaired by Dr. William Dement of Stanford University, found that 40 million Americans were ill with various sleep disorders (1), the majority of whom were not diagnosed, thus, not treated. Despite the existence of a large body of sleep medicine science and the availability of effective treatment for most sleep disorders, this knowledge base was virtually absent among primary care physicians and the lay public. After reviewing the computerized records of 10 million patients in large primary care databases, the Commission found only 73 diagnoses of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), whereas thousands of cases would have been expected, based on known prevalence figures. In a survey of all accredited U.S. medical schools, the amount of time spent teaching medical students about sleep medicine was less than two hours (2). Thus, primary care health care providers were woefully undertrained to diagnose and treat the millions of patients in the US who are afflicted with sleep disorders. The Commission recommended that a nationwide program be instituted to educate the general population and the medical profession about sleep.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sleep Disorder Primary Care Practice Continue Medical Education Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea 
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  1. 1.
    National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research Report. Executive summary and executive report, vol. 1. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 1993.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rosen C, Rosekind M, Rosevear C, Cole, WE, Dement, WC. Physician Education in Sleep and Sleep Disorders: A National Survey of U.S. Medical Schools. Sleep 1993; 16: 249–254.PubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Ball EM, Simon RD, Tall AA, Banks MB, Nino-Murcia G, Dement WC. Diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea within the community: the Walla Walla Project. Arch Int Med 1997; 157: 419–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dement WC, Mitler M. It’s time to wake up to the importance of sleep disorders. Jama 1993; 269: 1548–1550.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard D. SimonJr.
  • Eric M. Ball
  • Jennings C. FalconII

There are no affiliations available

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