5 Warning Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

sleeping man with sleep apnea

An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, but 80 percent of them don’t know it yet. Some people stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds at a time, up to 400 times a night. They may not realize it, but the episodes prevent them from slipping into deep, restorative sleep, and greatly increase the risk of suffering a stroke, getting into a car accident, or having a heart attack.

The trouble is that the symptoms aren’t always apparent because they occur during the night when sufferers aren’t fully aware. Without a light-sleeping partner to notice the signs, it could take a cardiac event and a trip to the emergency room before someone with Obstructive Sleep Apnea realizes they have it. The sleep apnea experts at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry say to look out for five warning signs before the condition worsens.

5 biggest sleep apnea warning signs:

1. Snoring

Loud and persistent snoring is a tell-tale sign of sleep apnea. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but most people with sleep apnea snore. The snoring is usually loudest when the sleeper is on his or her back. Loud, disruptive snoring may not occur every night, but may progressively worsen over time.

2. Choking

Sleep apnea reduces ventilation by at least 50 percent, so it’s common for a person to wake up choking and gasping for breath. Most of the time, people with sleep apnea just shift around in their sleep enough to contract the throat muscles and open the windpipe, and they never remember the awakening. Other times, the brain triggers an emergency kickstart of the system, which is that sputtering, choking, gasping reflex.

3. Dry mouth and sore throat

It’s very hard for people to gasp through their noses. More than a third of people with sleep apnea report dry mouth as a symptom because they breathe through open mouths all night long. Mornings start with dry, sore throats, unquenchable thirst, and gummy-feeling front teeth.

4. Morning headaches and fatigue

Impaired breathing at night means less oxygen delivered to the brain. The lack of oxygen widens the blood vessels in the head. People with sleep apnea often suffer morning headaches and feel mentally fatigued all day long, despite technically “clocking” enough sleep time. Severe sleep apnea patients rapidly fall asleep during the day, at work, watching TV, while driving, or mid-conversation. People who sleep alone may not have any other symptoms other than excessive daytime sleepiness and headaches in the mornings.

5. Frequent night urination

Extreme sleep apnea affects a hormone that controls urine production. The hormone disturbance causes a condition called nocturia, where sleepers wake up with the desperate need to urinate several times a night. The more times a person wakes up, the more chances he or she has to recognize an urge to visit the bathroom.

What if you think you have sleep apnea?

If you worry you might not always be breathing and resting comfortably at night, Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot would like to see you at their Long Island dental office. With decades of experience in assessing and diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea, these leaders in sleep apnea treatment are ready to help you. Sometimes the answer is as cheap and easy as sleeping with a soft mouthpiece that keeps the tongue and jaw in a neutral position to keep airways open all night. Don’t sleep another night wondering and worrying. Come in for an examination!

Additional “dental treatment for sleep apnea” resources:

  1. Berkeley Wellness – 5 warning signs of sleep apnea, http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-mind/sleep/article/5-warning-signs-sleep-apnea
  2. Healthy and Natural World – Sleep apnea warning signs you should not ignore, http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/sleep-apnea-warning-signs-you-should-not-ignore/
  3. National Institutes of Health – Sleep apnea signs, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea/signs
  4. SC Now – Sleep apnea signs, http://www.scnow.com/living/article_a3bbb818-dc0b-11e6-8bbf-7bd212527187.html
  5. Web MD – Sleep apnea clues, http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/features/sleep-apnea-clues#1
  6. NIH – Dry mouth upon awakening in obstructive sleep apnea, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16911034
  7. Alaska Sleep – Signs you might have sleep apnea, http://www.alaskasleep.com/blog/signs-you-might-have-sleep-apnea
  8. Sleep Disorders Guide – The statistics of sleep apnea, http://www.sleepdisordersguide.com/article/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea-statistics-the-statistics-of-sleep-apnea

Author Info

Jenn Fusion

Sleep Apnea: The Not-So Silent Killer

sleep apnea using CPAP , machine SLEEP APNEA , Diagnosis Sleep apnea , SLEEP APNEA

To diagnose and treat sleep disorders, most people assume they should talk to their primary care physician or head over to a hospital-based sleep lab. But did you know that your dentist can also treat a sleep disorder? If you have untreated sleep apnea, it’s time to make an appointment with your dentist.

“Many people don’t realize just how serious sleep apnea really is,” says Dr. Nick Augenbaum of Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry. “When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to life-threatening complications.” Dr. Elliot Koschitzki of the same dental practice adds, “Drug-free sleep apnea treatments from your dentist’s office can greatly improve your sleep and support your overall health.”

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that is characterized by the cyclical disruption of respiratory function during sleep. People with sleep apnea stop breathing for a few seconds to a minute or longer. When the brain senses the lack of oxygen, it forces the sleeper to briefly awaken to restart breathing. The resumption of breathing is often accompanied by a loud snorting or choking noise. Most patients are unaware that they’re waking up dozens of times each night. In severe cases, patients might cease breathing and wake up about 30 times in just one hour.

Why is sleep apnea so dangerous?

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires effective management to prevent life-threatening complications. Without proper treatment, the continual fluctuations in oxygen levels during sleep cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure. In patients who already have heart failure, sleep apnea can worsen the condition. Furthermore, sleep apnea increases the risk of heart arrhythmias. It also causes excessive daytime sleepiness and impaired concentration, which increase the risk of car crashes and other accidents.

Dentistry treatments for sleep apnea

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) has long been considered the standard in treating patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea, but it does have many drawbacks. For starters, many people find the CPAP mask uncomfortable and the machine noisy, prohibiting the good night’s sleep that it’s intended to produce. In fact, some patients stop using it altogether, which can have disastrous health consequences.

As a more comfortable alternative, dentists can provide oral appliance therapy. Patients who have previously undergone orthodontic treatment should have no problem adjusting to a custom-fitted oral appliance, which is only worn during sleep. The oral appliance is easily slipped into place before a patient goes to sleep to gently nudge the jaw into maintaining a slightly forward position. This holds the airways open during sleep, preventing the cessation of breathing.

Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot are experienced sleep apnea dentists and can create custom-fitted oral appliances for patients with sleep apnea. We take the time to carefully make any necessary adjustments to ensure a perfect, comfortable fit. We’ll also show you how to take good care of your custom oral appliance and we’ll recommend an appropriate follow-up schedule for your unique needs. Call our Long Island dentistry office today.

Additional sleep apnea resources

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, What Is Sleep Apnea? https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea
American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Oral Appliance Therapy, http://www.aadsm.org/oralappliances.aspx

Author Info

Jacky Gale

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Sleep Apnea

sleeping man with sleep apnea

An estimated 18 million Americans experience periodic pauses in breathing throughout the night – a serious condition known as sleep apnea. Research shows that the number of people with sleep apnea has grown considerably over the past two decades, due in large part to the ongoing prevalence of obesity in the United States.

The longer obstructive sleep apnea goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more serious the consequences can become. Restless sleep can lead to concentration and memory difficulties and a slew of health problems ranging from cardiovascular disease to impotence.  Despite ample research on sleep apnea and its causes and effects, a good deal of misinformation persists about this common breathing disorder.

Here are three interesting facts you may not know about sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea runs in the family

When we think of genetic traits being passed on from parent to child, things like facial features and hair color come to mind. But studies indicate that sleep apnea can also be hereditary. According to Dr. Shalini Paruthi, a director of the Pediatric Sleep at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, babies can inherit features such as large tonsils, recessed chins and overbites that can put them at higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea. The American Sleep Apnea Association reports that children as young as 2 years old can develop sleep apnea, which can affect up to 4 percent of U.S. children.

Many people have it, but don’t know it

We often think of sleep apnea as a man’s disease, since it is usually associated with heavy, chronic and extremely loud snoring. In reality, sleep apnea can affect both genders, and may go undetected in women who only suffer from occasional bouts of light snoring. You don’t have to wake up choking or gasping for air to have sleep apnea. Even irregular episodes of moderate snoring may be a warning sign that you need to get tested. Sleep apnea may be mistaken for periodic insomnia, benign snoring or even anxiety-related disorders, which is why it’s important to be attuned to your sleep patterns and get tested, especially if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Male
  • Obese
  • Smoker
  • Have enlarged tonsils
  • Drink alcohol frequently
  • Heavy snorer
  • Family history of sleep apnea

Your dentist can help you treat sleep apnea

For years, the primary method for treating sleep apnea was with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that was worn over the face at night. But did you know that some people can get sleep apnea treatment from their dentist?

Oral appliance therapy is 95% effective in resolving the troubling symptoms of sleep apnea. Worn just like a mouthgaurd or orthodontic retainer, the appliance keeps the tongue and jaw in a slightly forward position, keeping the airway open. With consistent use, patients will notice they sleep soundly throughout the night without disruptive snoring episodes.

Sleep apnea treatment in Suffolk County

Here at Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry, we look forward to helping you sleep better and leading a long, happy and healthy life. For a free sleep apnea consultation in Long Island, we invite you to call our office today.

Additional Sleep Apnea Resources:

  1. Everyday Health, 6 Things People With Sleep Apnea Wish You Knew http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/6-things-people-with-sleep-apnea-wish-you-knew/
  2. Healthy Bookworm, 10 Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms You May Not Know You Have http://healthybookworm.com/health/10-common-sleep-apnea-symptoms/

Author Info

Ava Lawson

Study Shows Diabetes Risk Heightened by Sleep Apnea

sleeping man with sleep apnea

Researchers have long noted a link between sleep apnea and diabetes, since both conditions are prevalent in overweight populations. However, the findings from a new study provide unequivocal evidence on the correlation between the sleep disorder and problems with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. In addition, the findings support previous notions that patients who have already been diagnosed with one of the conditions be screened for the other.

In the past, research on obstructive sleep apnea and the development of Type II diabetes has been limited at best. Most studies were performed on a short-term basis and were restricted to small numbers of participants. Now, evidence gleaned by lead study author Mako Nagayoshi of Japan’s Nagasaki University School of Biomedical Science illustrates that people with severe sleep apnea are a staggering 70 percent more likely to develop diabetes.

Obesity raises risk for sleep apnea & diabetes

The Japanese researchers included more than 1,450 participants, all of whom had some degree of sleep apnea at the beginning of the research, which was categorized as mild, moderate or severe. Study participants had a median age of 63, and had no evidence of blood sugar level problems at the start of the trial.

285 of the study participants developed Type II diabetes after a period of 13 years, report the study authors. The results underscore the need for increased awareness and screening for sleep apnea, as it is a proven risk factor for diabetes and a slew of other health problems.

“Behaviors such as healthy weight maintenance and reducing time in sedentary activities would simultaneously reduce the risk [of] developing sleep apnea and diabetes,” Paul Peppard, a sleep disorder specialist who was not involved in the study, told Reuters.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of Americans with sleep apnea who have not been properly diagnosed for the condition, putting them at added risk for blood sugar problems, Type II diabetes, as well as heart disease, stroke and hypertension.

Sleep apnea diagnosis & treatment

Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder that disrupts your sleep, causing extremely shallow breathing or actual pauses in breathing. People with mild forms of obstructive sleep apnea may not be aware of their condition, thinking they are simply heavy snorers or just feeling fatigued in the mornings. The problem happens when tissues collapse in the back of the throat, blocking the airway. Over months and years, people with sleep apnea are habitually deprived of solid sleep, and may awaken dozens of times each night. This in turn, negatively impacts health and increases the chances of having a workplace or automobile accidents.

Doctors and sleep disorder specialists can accurately diagnose OSA with in-home or laboratory studies that monitor your sleep. For many years, the only way to manage sleep apnea was with Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which while effective, is not user-friendly. Individuals who have mild or moderate levels of sleep apnea may benefit from tongue retaining or jaw repositioning devices – otherwise known as Oral Appliance Therapy.

Oral appliance therapy in Long Island

An oral appliance is a custom-made mouthpiece that helps eliminate snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Because they are small, portable and comfortable, they are often the sleep apnea treatment of choice for patients of all ages. They function by repositioning your jaw or tongue to help keep your airway open throughout the night. No larger than an orthodontic retainer, oral appliances are also much more affordable than a CPAP machine, and are not associated with dry mouth, dry eyes, claustrophobia, or other adverse side effects.

Long Island dentists Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot offer Oral Appliance Therapy to qualified patients in their Suffolk County dental practice. To learn more about this innovative sleep apnea treatment, please call Long Island Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry and request a free consultation.

Resources:

  1. MassDevice.com, Sleep apnea may increase diabetes risk http://www.massdevice.com/sleep-apnea-may-increase-diabetes-risk/
  2. SleepEducation.org, Sleep Apnea – Overview & Facts http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/sleep-apnea

Author Info

Ava Lawson

Dentists Help Prevent Workplace Injuries with Sleep Apnea Treatment

sleeping man with sleep apnea

The Sleep Apnea Association estimates that there are 22 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea – many with undiagnosed conditions. A new study warns that these individuals may be twice as likely to suffer a workplace injury compared to those who do not have breathing problems at night.

Research highlights dangers of sleep apnea

A new report published in the medical journal Thorax emphasized the dangers of going through life with untreated or poorly treated sleep apnea. Not only were sleep apnea sufferers twice as likely to suffer workplace injuries, but they were also three times more likely to fall, sustain a burn injury, or get into a commercial car crash. Overall, 10 percent of sleep apnea sufferers filed for disability from an on-the-job accident (compared to 5.4 percent of people with other sleep issues).

The University of British Columbia Hospital Sleep Laboratory looked at more than 1,200 patients – 994 people with the condition and 242 without – from May 2003 to July 2011. They compared their studies with data taken from workers’ compensation provider WorkSafeBC. Workers needed to take at least one disability day in order for the injury to constitute as a “workplace injury.”

Agencies look at ways to curb untreated sleep apnea

An even more troubling study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reported that commercial truck drivers who did not use their CPAP machines were four to five times more likely to be involved in a serious (and preventable) accident.

In response to increasing concerns about the risks and costs associated with untreated sleep apnea, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed requiring all rail workers and commercial vehicle operators to undergo sleep apnea screening as part of their comprehensive physicals.

Dentists offer CPAP alternative for sleep apnea treatment

Compliance is a major issue with sleep apnea sufferers who use CPAP machines. Many people do not like the invasiveness of wearing a large mask over their nose and mouth at night. It is also difficult for soldiers deployed overseas or those who travel extensively for work to lug around the cumbersome machine.

Dentists have an alternative. Oral appliance therapy involves sleeping with a small, sport-style mouth-guard that keeps the mouth in a neutral position, with airways open. One oral appliance user, Robert Thomas, admitted that the first night of using the appliance was “awkward” at first.

He explains, “I woke up in the morning next to a large pile of drool and felt a bit of soreness in my jaw.” However, the drooling resolved the second night and the jaw soreness disappeared by the fourth night. “While it did take a few days to become accustomed to wearing it, doing so was well worth the effort and I was thrilled with the results,” he concluded.

“To help you determine if a mouth-guard may be a simple, insurance-covered fix for your nighttime breathlessness, gasping, coughing, and snoring, we’re offering a free sleep apnea consultation in the NYC / Long Island area,” say Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry.

Fitting for an oral appliance is quick and easy. The team performs a routine oral exam, takes x-rays ad takes impressions of the teeth to create the custom-made mouthpiece right here in office. Small adjustments may need to be made within the first few weeks to ensure a perfect fit, but generally the device is easy to use.

Contact our Suffolk County dental practice today at 631.296.0602.

Resources:

  1. Thorax – Obstructive sleep apnea and frequency of occupational injury http://thorax.bmj.com/content/early/2016/03/15/thoraxjnl-2015-207994.abstract
  2. Snoring Mouthpiece Guide – What Does It Feel Like To Wear A Plastic Anti-Snoring Mouthguard? http://www.snoringmouthpieceguide.com/what-does-it-feel-like-to-wear-a-plastic-anti-snoring-mouthguard/

 

Author Info

Jenn Fusion

Sleep Apnea Linked to Increased Cancer Risk

You may not think of your dentist as part of a fight against cancer, but new research has linked better cancer outcomes with sleep apnea treatment. Though the findings were derived from early animal research, it’s significant as the first possible link between oxygen restriction and cancer. Dentists like Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot believe that they offer the best way to ensure open air passageways in the night.

Study links sleep apnea treatment with better cancer outcomes

A new animal study presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Munich has shown that tissues and organs starved of oxygen – even in small intermittent bursts – promotes an increase in Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and the formation of blood vessels within tumors.

Lead researcher Antoni Vilaseca, MD, MS from the Hospital Clínic De Barcelona in Spain reasoned: “Patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea usually suffer from intermittent hypoxia at night. This work shows that intermittent hypoxia has the potential to promote the formation of blood vessels within tumors, meaning that the tumors have access to more nutrients.”

He adds, “This is of course an early animal study, so we need to be cautious in applying this to humans. Nevertheless, this work indicates a plausible mechanism for just why conditions which restrict oxygen flow to tissues, like sleep apnea, may promote cancers.”

Professor Arnulf Stenzl, chair of the EAU Congress Committee, added that the study is remarkable because it may be postulated that increased oxygenation may be the real reason behind better cancer outcomes – whether it’s through sleep apnea treatment, cardio exercise, giving up smoking, or reducing Body Mass Index.

Dentists say they offer the best sleep apnea treatment

New York Dentists Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry say they offer a better alternative to conventional CPAP machine treatment for sleep apnea. The use of a custom-made mouthguard-type appliance at night keeps the mouth and tongue in a neutral position to prevent air passageway blockage.

“CPAP machines traditionally have low compliance rates,” Dr. Elliot explains. “There are issues with leaky valves, discomfort with the face mask, and difficulty with portability when traveling. By contrast, a small oral appliance is less irritating to wear at night and easier to take on a business trip or vacation.” Additionally, he says oral appliances are typically covered by insurers, making it an affordable option for most patients.

Who should try oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea?

The best candidates for oral appliance therapy include patients with:

  • Mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea
  • A past history of failure to comply with CPAP therapy
  • Supine dependent OSA
  • Craniofacial retrognathism

The best way to know if you are a candidate for this sleep apnea treatment is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick in their Long Island office by calling 631-744-5700.

Resources:

  1. Sleep Review Magazine – Mouse Study Finds Possible Mechanism Linking Sleep Apnea To Worse Cancer Outcomes http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2016/03/mouse-study-finds-possible-mechanism-linking-sleep-apnea-worse-cancer-outcomes/#sthash.YgiMYQdW.dpuf
  2. Sleep Review Magazine – 9 Alternative Therapies For OSA http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/09/alternative-therapies-obstructive-sleep-apnea/#sthash.NBppFihO.dpuf

Author Info

Jenn Fusion

New Study on Sleep Apnea and Heart Risks

Roughly one-fifth of American adults suffer from obstructive sleep apnea – a chronic condition that can triple one’s risk for heart disease. For years, doctors have been trying to figure out why this relatively common disorder can cause patients to be at a higher risk for heart attacks, and, according to a new study conducted at Columbia University, high cholesterol levels may be the answer.

Statin use lowered heart attack risk in sleep apnea patients

Researchers determined that cholesterol seems to play an important role in raising the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with sleep apnea. Dr. Sanja Jelic and colleagues found that a key protein – known as CD59 – on blood vessel cell linings have a protective effect on the rise and fall of oxygen levels during sleep. In his study, Jelic found that people with high cholesterol levels lose the protective benefits of this protein, which eventually causes cells to become damaged, inflamed and die.

However, Jelic and his team discovered that sleep apnea patients who took statins – drugs that help lower blood cholesterol levels – had normal amounts of CD59, and thus were at less risk of cardiovascular problems. The findings suggest that statins may prove useful in lowering risk of heart attack and/or stroke in sleep apnea patients, says Dr. Klar Yaggi, a sleep and heart specialist at Yale School of Medicine: “Statins might complement sleep apnea treatment and play a very important part in reducing cardiovascular risk in sleep apnea patients.”

Sleep apnea affects heart health

Obstructive sleep apnea causes the upper airway to partially collapse, resulting in periodic pauses of breathing. Momentarily choked of oxygen, sufferers will gasp and wake before falling back asleep. This cycle can repeat itself upwards of 30 times a night, causing loud snoring, extensive sleep deprivation, daytime fatigue and a host of related problems.

If left unchecked, sleep apnea can lead to heart arrhythmias, increase the chance of work or driving accidents, and heighten the risk of hypertension and heart disease.

Beyond these negative implications, Dr. Yaggi explains that sleep apnea, which causes transient awakenings throughout the night, may cause blood clots to form, thus putting patients at a greater risk for heart attacks.

Statins may be useful for protecting heart health in sleep apnea patients, but the medications can’t stop people from choking at night. Over time, his fragmented sleep leads to a poor quality of life.

Treatments for sleep apnea

Lifestyle changes, breathing devices such as a CPAP machine, mouthpieces and surgery are all useful in addressing the debilitating effects of sleep apnea. Patients who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea often benefit from oral appliance therapy – a custom mouthpiece created by your dentist.

An oral appliance works by keeping your airway open during sleep, and eliminates the need and expensive for a bulky CPAP mask that can cause dry mouth, headaches and skin irritation.

If used consistently, oral appliance therapy can restore regular breathing at night and significantly reduce snoring and daytime fatigue.

NYC sleep apnea dentist

If you’re one of the thousands of Long Islanders suffering from this debilitating disorder, Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry offers sleep apnea treatment with oral appliance therapy at our Suffolk County dental practice. To learn more, we invite you to call 631-296-0588 to arrange a private consultation.

Author Info

Ryan Green

Sleep Apnea Places Millions at Risk of Serious Complications

sleeping man with sleep apnea

According to experts, roughly half of all Americans snore during sleep, and unfortunately, in far too many cases, their snoring is actually indicative of a dangerous condition known as sleep apnea. Simply speaking, sleep apnea is a breathing disruption characterized by a narrowing of the airway and relaxation of surrounding muscle and tissue.

Though the brain typically jolts an affected individual awake before true suffocation can occur, sleep apnea can produce a number of serious problems. The good news is that improvements in treatment techniques are helping many achieve a much greater quality of life.

Millions affected by sleep apnea

It is thought that anywhere between 18 and 20 million in the U.S. have sleep apnea, but 8 out of ever 10 sufferers have not been formally diagnosed with the condition. The resulting lack of treatment can lead to fatigue, headaches and other inconveniences, not to mention significant health risks. The repeated interruptions in breathing caused by sleep apnea add an alarming degree of stress on the hearts of those affected, boosting the likelihood of stroke, hypertension, irregular heartbeat and even heart failure.

Sleep apnea risk factors identified

Though numerous theories exist as to how sleep apnea develops, physicians have determined that specific risk factors exist which increase the chances a particular individual will suffer from the condition. Males are more likely to experience sleep apnea than females, though the latter group will see a jump in risk after menopause.

Obesity is another contributor to many cases of sleep apnea, along with diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol or drug use and hereditary predisposition. Individuals who are already aware that they have a snoring problem need to realize that they are at heightened risk of sleep apnea than those who do not snore.

Treatments offer patients greater control

Those who learn they are indeed suffering from sleep apnea can take comfort in the fact that innovations in treating the condition have made such a diagnosis much more manageable than ever before. The two primary options for treating obstructive sleep apnea are the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or the use of a customized oral appliance.

A CPAP device helps maintain an open airway in patients while they are asleep by sending pressurized air through a mask that sits over the nose and mouth. Though often used to treat those with moderate or severe sleep apnea, there are many patients who simply cannot tolerate wearing the mask long enough to obtain its benefits.

At Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry, we have found that Oral Appliance Therapy is a far more effective treatment option for a large number of sleep apnea patients, and we pride ourselves in offering personalized solutions proven to achieve real results. The first step in obtaining an oral appliance designed to treat sleep apnea, patients will need to be referred by a primary care doctor. Then, our team of professionals will conduct a comprehensive oral exam, discuss all available treatment options, take impressions and craft a fully customized mouthpiece able to provide the relief so many patients have been seeking.

Sleep apnea treatment in Suffolk County

Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry understand the debilitating impact sleep apnea can have on the lives of patients and their sleep partners alike. Our Suffolk County dentists are committed to providing treatment options intended to alleviate snoring once and for all and to prevent the heath concerns attendant to nightly bouts of disrupted breathing.

To learn more about how we can help and to schedule a consultation, contact our office at 631-319-9509.

Author Info

Sarah May

Sleep Apnea Linked to Increased Risk of Gout

sleeping man with sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which breathing periodically stops and restarts throughout the night. Individuals who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are more prone to suffer from extreme daytime fatigue, as well as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems. A new study, published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology, has now linked sleep apnea to an increased risk of gout and gout flare-ups due to excess production of uric acid in the bloodstream, which is sparked by bouts of oxygen deprivation.

Researchers at the Boston University Clinical Epidemiology Research and Training Unit say that obesity is often an underlying factor in both sleep apnea and gout, the latter of which is caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals in the body.

However, individuals with sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from gout even when weight was not an issue, according to Yuqing Zhang, the study’s lead author.

Gout twice as common in sleep apnea sufferers

In their analysis of the effects of sleep apnea, the research team reviewed data on 10,000 individuals who were newly-diagnosed with sleep apnea. This data was then compared with 40,000 people of a similar age, gender and body composition who did not have sleep apnea. Some 270 cases of gout were identified by the research team within a one year period, with 76 in the sleep apnea group and another 194 in the comparison participants.

Statistically, this showed that gout was nearly twice as common in those with sleep apnea, which raises the question of whether treating sleep apnea patients can then reduce gout risks.

Gout is considered a complex type of arthritis and associated with a slew of painful symptoms, including:

  • Severe joint pain in the big toe
  • Lingering joint pain that doesn’t subside with medication
  • Warmth, redness and tenderness in the ankles, wrists, knees, fingers and toes
  • Reduced movement of the affected joint

Health care practitioners have long warned that risk factors for gout include a diet rich in red meats and alcohol, genetic predisposition, being male, metabolic syndrome and obesity. These recent findings also indicate that sleep apnea is another possible risk factor to take into consideration.

Treating sleep apnea

Individuals who suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea understand the detrimental effects this sleep disorder has on energy levels, concentration, memory and overall health. For this reason, many sufferers turn to conventional treatments like CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machines, which is a mask worn over the face during sleep. While some patients learn to adapt to this bulky device, others feel claustrophobic or cannot tolerate its dehydrating effects.

Overall compliance rates with CPAP machines are low, though some manufacturers are currently producing lighter machines that are more comfortable and not quite as cumbersome.

For those individuals who simply cannot tolerate CPAP masks or have been unable to find relief through other methods, oral appliance therapy is a possible solution. An oral appliance is a custom-made mouth guard worn at night that alleviates moderate obstructive sleep apnea in nearly two-thirds of patients, according to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Free consultation for oral appliance therapy

Many dental professionals have had great success in treating sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. If you’ve been suffering and would like to schedule a sleep-apnea assessment with Long Island cosmetic dentists Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliott, we invite you to contact our Suffolk County office today at 631-296-0570. Keep in mind that most insurance and medical plans cover sleep apnea treatment 100%!

 

Author Info

Ava Lawson

Treating Sleep Apnea Helps With Depression, Says Study

sleep apnea animation

Depressive symptoms are often alleviated when sleep apnea is treated, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Prior to the study, nearly 73 percent of the 426 sleep apnea patients showed clinical signs of depression. After three months of treatment with CPAP therapy to resolve their sleep apnea, only 4 percent of the sleep apnea patients had symptoms of depression.

Of the 41 patients who reported thoughts of self-harm or feelings that they’d “be better off dead” prior to treatment, no patients felt that way at the three-month follow-up.

Sleep apnea treatment benefits patients physically and mentally

“The findings highlight the potential for sleep apnea, a notoriously underdiagnosed condition, to be misdiagnosed as depression,” said Australian sleep physician and senior study author David R. Hillman, MD. The results suggested that there are mental health benefits to treating sleep apnea, in addition to reducing the risk of other chronic health problems like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure that have been associated with sleep apnea.

Types of sleep apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (affects 2% of all women and 4% of men): Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the tongue or fatty tissues in the throat fall back down the airways, causing a partial or complete blockage that restricts airflow to the brain during sleep. Sleepers may suffer anywhere from five to thirty or more interruptions in breathing per hour.
  • Central Sleep Apnea (approximately 20% of sleep apnea cases): Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles responsible for breathing. Sometimes brain stem issues occur as a result of Parkinson’s Disease, obesity, heart failure, brain tumor, stroke or prescription painkiller use.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea (approximately 15% of cases): Some patients have a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea symptoms. Often when Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients are treated with CPAP machines, they develop symptoms of Central Sleep Apnea as well – a phenomena that is still being researched.

Sleep apnea symptoms

People tend not to think of snoring as a health problem – and it’s true that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, nor does everyone with sleep apnea snore. It’s important to see a medical professional if the quality of your sleep is interfering with your waking life or if you awaken each morning feeling genuinely lousy.

Depending on the type of sleep apnea a person has, common symptoms may include:

  • Habitual, loud snoring
  • Breathing pauses
  • Awakening gasping for breath
  • Awakening with a sore throat and dry mouth
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability
  • Attention problems

CPAP therapy and other sleep apnea treatments

The CPAP machine has been a mainstay of sleep apnea treatment for many years, but compliance rates are low due to discomfort. A bulky machine is attached to a face mask, which must be worn all night. Patients must also ensure there is routine maintenance conducted to ensure the tubes are not leaking and the components have not become worn. It is also a difficult therapy for travelers or people who are deployed overseas and not sleeping at home.

Another option is to see a dentist specializing in non-invasive obstructive sleep apnea treatment. A custom-made mouthpiece shifts the lower jaw forward and opens the bite slightly to keep air passageways open at night.

Here at Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot perform a regular oral exam, take x-rays of the teeth, ask a few general health questions and counsel patients on the pros and cons of oral appliance therapy. The next step involves taking precise impressions of the teeth and fashioning the custom mouthpiece in-office. Best of all, insurance covers most of the cost.

For more information on treating sleep apnea and depression using easy, affordable dental therapy, call 631-296-0609.

 

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Jenn Fusion