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A Sleep Apnea History Lesson

Sleep apnea has been observed since ancient times and, while a treatment or cause was not clear, people were still aware of this condition. In the late 19th century, the term “Pickwickian syndrome” was created to describe symptoms of sleep apnea. Unfortunately, the research mainly concentrated on the patient’s obesity rather than the disordered breathing experienced during sleep. In 1965, the first polysomnograph recorded apneas during sleep. Further research determined that obesity was not essential for sleep apnea, but there were other comorbidities associated with it.

The First Sleep Clinic

Sleep apnea research continued and the first sleep clinic was created at Stanford University in California in 1970 by William Dement. Two years later, Christian Guilleminault joined the clinic and concentrated on respiratory disorders during sleep. As the years went on, research on sleep apnea continued to improve as more medical professionals grew interested in sleep disordered breathing.

Between 1975 and 1980, there were 319 articles on sleep apnea appearing in medical literature. This increase in awareness would pave the way for advanced treatment options to successfully help patients get a better night’s sleep.

Sleep apnea continues to expand as more and more medical fields continue to explore causes, symptoms and treatment options. To learn more about sleep apnea and its history, contact our Warrenton dentist, Dr. Bonnie Foster.