Category: Sleep Apnea Treatment

Now You Can Test Yourself at Home for Sleep Apnea

31 Aug 2020 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is an extremely common sleep disorder. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. This condition can lower the sleep quality of you and your partner, creating more serious issues during the day.

Drivers with sleep apnea are almost 2.5 times more likely to be the driver in a car accident than the general population. Sleep apnea is a serious condition, and luckily, there’s a way to test yourself for it at home.

Like the B.E.F.A.S.T acronym that should be remembered for signs of a stroke, there is an acronym you can use to test yourself for sleep apnea. S.T.O.P.B.A.N.G is an acronym that represents a series of questions to ask yourself if you suspect that you have sleep apnea. If you answer yes to three or more of these questions, then it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about getting tested for the condition.

STOPBANG: Your Key to Self-Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

Snore. Do you snore regularly? Does your partner complain about your snoring?

Tired. Do you find that you are commonly exhausted during the day?

Obstruction. Do you sometimes find that your breathing stops altogether when you sleep? Has your partner ever said that your snores stop suddenly like you can’t breathe?

Pressure. Do you have high blood pressure? Are you taking any medication for high blood pressure?

BMI. Body mass index, also known as BMI, is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. Is your BMI 30 or higher?

Age. Are you 50 years old or above?

Neck. Is the measurement around your neck more than 17 inches if you are male, or more than 16 inches if you’re female?

Gender. Are you a man?

As mentioned, if you answered yes to three or more of the questions above, you should contact your doctor to get tested for obstructive sleep apnea.

Treat Sleep Apnea Easily at Long Island Dentistry

Luckily, if you do find yourself diagnosed with sleep apnea and you live in the Suffolk County area, you can find simple sleep apnea dental treatment at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry. Our specialists are leaders in sleep apnea treatment. We utilize specialized tools and world-class care to assist you in your quest to overcome sleep apnea.

Reach out today to create an appointment to discuss your options one-on-one with one of our qualified specialists. We are taking every precaution necessary to ensure that your visit to our office is safe, clean, and healthy.

Our entire team is taking extra steps to keep our patients, and each other, safe. We’ve updated our sanitization regimen, and all of our staff members are wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) and employing regular hand washing. If you have already made an appointment, we encourage you to self-monitor for any symptoms of illness. Reach out to our office if you need to reschedule your appointment; we’re more than happy to help.

Additional Resources:

Medical Study: Sleep Apnea May Cause Blindness

29 Oct 2019 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that, if left untreated, can increase a person’s risk of many health complications. These include stroke, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure, among others. Now, researchers are adding vision loss to the list of devastating health problems found in some sleep apnea patients.

“This evidence is troubling, but hopefully it will encourage more patients living with sleep apnea to seek treatment in order to avoid these serious complications,” says Dr. Nick at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry. “Many patients don’t realize that dentists can treat mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea,” he adds.

A look at the sleep apnea study

One of the more recent studies to examine sleep apnea involved data from 51 patients at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan. The data were collected over an eight-year period. The researchers discovered that patients who had diabetic macular edema had an 80.6 percent rate of severe sleep apnea, compared to 45.5 percent of patients who did not have diabetic macular edema. In other words, severe sleep apnea appears to contribute to this serious eye disease. These patients also required more intensive treatments to manage their condition, such as laser therapy.

The lead researcher, Juifan Chang, stated, “Based on these results, we hope that more medical professionals will approach sleep apnea as a risk factor for diabetic macular edema.” Change further stated that earlier medical intervention is crucial for halting the progression of vision loss.

Understanding diabetic macular edema

Like sleep apnea, diabetes can lead to many different health complications, especially when patients’ blood glucose levels aren’t properly managed. One possible health complication is vision loss. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can, over time, result in diabetic retinopathy. This involves damage inflicted on the very small blood vessels in the eye. Permanent blindness can result.

Diabetes can also cause diabetic macular edema. In patients with retinopathy, the damaged blood vessels can begin to leak fluid and blood. This fluid can build up in the retina and cause swelling, known as macular edema. Diabetic macular edema may be indicated by blurry vision, double vision, and “floaters” or spots in the vision, as well as blindness,  if left untreated.

Get treated for sleep apnea as soon as possible

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may have been prescribed CPAP therapy. This involves wearing a mask, connected to an air pressure device, to maintain continuous positive airway pressure and prevent breathing from stopping during sleep. Unfortunately, many patients have trouble using a CPAP because it’s uncomfortable or it makes too much noise during the night. If you’re having trouble with your CPAP treatment, talk to a dentist about a custom-fitted oral appliance instead.

The dentists at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry are pleased to provide custom-made oral appliances to effectively and comfortably treat sleep apnea. We’ll work with you to help you get the sleep you need and manage your risk of sleep disorder-related complications. Call our office in Long Island, Suffolk County today to request an appointment to discuss dental sleep apnea treatments!

Additional resources for sleep apnea patients:

Life-Threatening Sleep Apnea Is on the Rise

14 Jun 2019 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

sleep apnea using CPAP , machine SLEEP APNEA , Diagnosis Sleep apnea , SLEEP APNEAEveryone knows that sleep disorders can make you feel groggy and sluggish during the day. But did you know that one sleep disorder in particular could lead to life-threatening complications? And what’s worse—it’s on an upward trend in the U.S. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that at least 25 million adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that needs to be treated in order to manage the risk of complications like heart disease and diabetes.

What’s behind the rising rates of sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, is closely associated with obesity. This is because obesity causes the accumulation of excess tissues around the airway. As a person lies back in bed, the excess tissue encourages the airway to close. While the patient is asleep, he or she may stop breathing for longer than 10 seconds at a time. When the brain realizes that oxygen has been cut off, it rouses the patient from sleep to restart breathing. In most cases, patients don’t realize that they’ve experienced a cessation of breathing, and they are unaware that they could be waking up dozens or even hundreds of times in one night.

It’s possible for people in a healthy weight range to develop obstructive sleep apnea. However, obesity is definitely a major risk factor. As obesity rates rise among American adults, so too is the sleep apnea epidemic.

Why is sleep apnea so dangerous?

When sleep apnea is properly controlled, its complications are also under control. However, many people with sleep apnea don’t realize they have it, and so they don’t seek treatment for it. When it’s not being properly managed, sleep apnea can increase the risk of the following medical conditions:

  • New or worsening obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Certain cancers

The New York Times reports that sleep apnea can also cause a three-fold increase in the risk of motor vehicle accidents, which may be fatal.

How can Long Island dentists treat sleep apnea?

For years, the gold standard of sleep apnea treatment has been the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. While the CPAP works well, it isn’t always ideal. The mask can be uncomfortable and bulky, making it difficult for patients to sleep with it on. Some patients stop using the machine altogether out of frustration, which places them at risk of the potentially life-threatening complications of untreated sleep apnea. Fortunately, there’s a better solution.

For patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea who have difficulty tolerating the CPAP machine, dentistry can provide the answer. Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry in Suffolk County can create custom-made oral appliances that effectively treat many cases of sleep apnea. The device is small, comfortable, and easy to wear all night long. It works by gently repositioning the oral structures so that the airway stays open all night, allowing patients to breathe freely and stop snoring. In fact, some patients who suffer from chronic snoring may choose to wear an oral appliance to spare their partners, even if they haven’t been diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Find out if sleep apnea dental treatment on Long Island could be right for you by scheduling a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Nick or Dr. Elliot in Suffolk County. Call today!

Additional resources on sleep apnea:

Untreated Sleep Apnea Tied to Risk of Painful Arthritis

18 Sep 2018 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

macn sleeping with CPAP machineSleep apnea is a sleep disorder, and gout is an inflammatory form of arthritis. At first blush, it would appear that these two medical conditions have little to nothing in common. But emerging scientific evidence suggests that sleep apnea and gout are indeed linked. In a recent study published in the medical journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, researchers revealed that an analysis of tens of thousands of patients indicated those with sleep apnea are about 50% more likely to develop gout.

A look at the sleep apnea study

The researchers analyzed data in a British health database. They took a close look at nearly 10,000 people with sleep apnea, with the average age of 54. The researchers compared this group to a control group of nearly 44,000 patients who hadn’t been diagnosed with sleep apnea. After one year, the patients with sleep apnea had a 50/50 chance of having suffered an attack of gout during that year.

Another, longer study also suggested a link between sleep apnea and gout. Scientists studied nearly 16,000 patients with sleep apnea, and a control group of about 63,000. They followed the study participants for nearly six years. During that time, 2.6% of people without sleep apnea developed gout, compared to 4.9% of people with sleep apnea who developed gout.

Nature of the relationship still under investigation

It’s not clear exactly why people with sleep apnea appear to be at an increased risk of this inflammatory form of arthritis. However, the researchers pointed out that both conditions do share one major risk factor in common: Overweight and obesity. The other leading theory is that gout may have something to do with hypoxia. Hypoxia refers to insufficient oxygen levels. As a person with sleep apnea sleeps, the airway becomes obstructed and oxygen levels plummet as breathing ceases. The repetitive, severe drops in oxygen levels contribute to cell breakdown and tissue damage. It’s possible that these complications may increase the uric acid levels within the body.

Gout is a form of arthritis in which uric acid levels are high. This causes uric acid to crystallize, and these crystals accumulate in the joints—usually in the big toe. When the crystals build up, an intensely painful attack of gout occurs.

How can specialized dental care help?

Patients with severe sleep apnea may need CPAP therapy to keep their symptoms under control and reduce the risk of complications like gout. But not all patients can tolerate the CPAP machine. It’s notoriously bulky and noisy, and can be difficult to fall asleep with. Many patients with sleep apnea are excellent candidates for dental treatments for sleep apnea.

So how can a dentist help patients who suffer from sleep apnea? It’s because the positioning of the oral structures can obstruct the airway during sleep, causing sleep apnea, and dentists can fix this problem. A dentist can custom fit a special oral appliance. This gently shifts the oral structures into their proper positions during sleep. This allows patients to sleep soundly through the night, stop snoring, and keep their sleep apnea under control.

You can get your custom-fit oral appliance today at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot are experts in providing dental treatments for sleep apnea patients. Don’t delay another day—get the healthy sleep you deserve. Call our office in Long Island, Suffolk County at 631.296.0602.

Additional resources about sleep apnea and gout:

  1. Harvard Medical School, Gout: Sleep Apnea May Raise Your Risk,
  2. The New York Times, Sleep Apnea May Increase Risk of Gout,

Are You Unwittingly Making Your Sleep Apnea Worse?

7 Aug 2018 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

sleep apnea using CPAP , machine SLEEP APNEA , Diagnosis Sleep apnea , SLEEP APNEAHigh blood pressure, obesity, stroke, and heart attack—these are all possible health effects of poorly controlled sleep apnea. This serious sleep disorder occurs when breathing stops and restarts in a cyclical fashion throughout the night. Often, patients don’t realize they have sleep apnea until their snoring prompts their sleep partner to make a doctor’s appointment. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you should be aware that the following factors can make your condition worse.

Smoking cigarettes

Smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do to your health and the health of the people around you, but quitting isn’t easy. If you need more motivation to quit, consider how smoking could be affecting your sleep apnea episodes. Each time you inhale a mouthful of smoke, the chemicals in the smoke irritate your upper airway, throat, soft palate, and all of the other oral and upper respiratory structures. Cigarette smoke causes these tissues to become inflamed and swollen. The swollen tissues will narrow the airways and can make sleep apnea worse.

Drinking alcohol

If you often enjoy a nightcap before bed, you could be jeopardizing your quality of sleep and making your sleep apnea worse. Alcohol acts like a sedative on your muscles. It causes the throat and tongue muscles to relax, which increases the risk of airway obstruction.

Sleeping in a certain position

If you’re a back sleeper, your partner is more likely to complain about frequent snoring. You’re also more likely to suffer repeated episodes of sleep apnea, since this position allows the tissues to obstruct the throat more easily. Instead, try sleeping on your side. If you unintentionally roll back over to your back in your sleep, try placing a bulky body pillow right next to you to prevent this from happening.

Gaining weight

Overweight and obesity are significant risk factors of sleep apnea, and gaining more weight can make the symptoms worse. The more weight a person gains, the more extra tissues there are around the airway. During sleep, the muscles relax and threaten to block the airway. Being obese and sleeping on one’s back can create a perfect storm in which sleep apnea gets out of control.

What’s worse is that having uncontrolled sleep apnea can increase the risk of additional weight gain. This may be because sleep deprivation throws hormones out of balance, and some of those hormones affect one’s daytime appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods.

Overcoming sleep apnea through dentistry care

If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk of serious health problems. Get your sleep apnea under control with help from the dentists at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry in Long Island, Suffolk County. We offer custom-fitted oral appliances that provide an effective alternative to CPAP therapy. Unlike CPAP therapy, oral appliances don’t require a mask, hose, or noisy equipment. It’s a safe, comfortable treatment option that will start working immediately. Call our dental office at 631-246-4992 to request an appointment with Dr. Nick or Dr. Elliot and discuss sleep apnea dental treatment on Long Island.

Additional resources for sleep apnea patients:

  1. U.S. News & World Report, Sleep Apnea: 8 Things That Make It Worse,
  2. Mayo Clinic, Sleep Apnea,

Can Sleep Apnea Put Your Life at Risk?

11 May 2018 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

sleeping man with sleep apneaFew things are as frustrating as trying to fall asleep while your partner is snoring loudly enough to score on the Richter scale. If this happens regularly, or if your partner wakes up gasping throughout the night, it’s time to schedule a doctor’s appointment for him or her. These are classic signs of obstructive sleep apnea, and without treatment, this sleep disorder could lead to life-threatening complications.

The good news is that sleep apnea is also treatable with just a quick trip to your dentist’s office.

Cardiovascular complications of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea doesn’t just cause snoring and gasping for air during sleep—these are only symptoms of the underlying problem. This sleep disorder happens when the airway becomes obstructed by soft tissue, preventing breathing. The brain then temporarily rouses the person from sleep to restart breathing. Often, patients don’t realize they’re waking up dozens or more times each night.

Cardiovascular complications can develop because of the repeated drop in oxygen levels. Each time the oxygen level drops, blood pressure rises. Over time, untreated sleep apnea may lead to hypertension. In turn, high blood pressure increases the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, heart arrhythmias, and stroke. Men with sleep apnea also appear to be at an increased risk of heart failure—a condition in which the heart cannot pump as much blood as the body needs.

Sleep apnea and chronic kidney disease

Sleep apnea patients suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. Even if they are unaware of waking up dozens of times each night, it still disrupts the natural sleep cycle, leaving them unable to get deep, restorative sleep.

Two of the many organs sleep deprivation can affect are the kidneys. The kidneys are regulated in part by the natural circadian rhythm of wakefulness and sleep. Specifically, the circadian rhythm influences the metabolism of sodium and potassium. Evidence suggests that the drop in blood oxygen saturation causes accelerated kidney function decline. In other words, people with untreated sleep apnea are at a higher risk of chronic kidney disease.

Increased risk of daytime accidents

At some point, everyone experiences the side effects of sleep deprivation. It causes daytime fatigue, lack of concentration and attention span, and a reduced capacity for judgment, reasoning, and decision making. It also slows reaction times. Patients with sleep apnea can experience these problems every day, which dramatically increases the risk of daytime accidents like car crashes and workplace incidents. Some of these can be deadly.

Treating sleep apnea without CPAP machines

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, may be necessary in cases of severe sleep apnea. But patients with only mild cases may be able to avoid sleeping with a bulky, uncomfortable mask and hose thanks to advanced dental treatments. Here at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry, we’re committed to helping our patients live life well.

Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot can fit you with a small, comfortable oral appliance—no mask or hose needed! The oral appliance works by gently repositioning your jaw while you sleep to prevent your airway from closing. Call our sleep apnea dentists in Suffolk County, Long Island today at 631-319-9509 and request our next available consultation. You’ll be sleeping better and improving your health in no time!

Additional resources for sleep apnea patients:

  1. Mayo Clinic, Obstructive Sleep Apnea,
  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Signs, Symptoms, and Complications,

Surprising New Treatments for Sleep Apnea

14 Dec 2017 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

All sleep disorders affect health and quality of life, but sleep apnea is arguably one of the most damaging. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway muscles relax too much during sleep. As a result, the individual can’t get air to the lungs. The brain senses the lack of oxygen, and causes the individual to briefly awaken.

Most people with sleep apnea aren’t even aware they’re waking up dozens and dozens of times each night. Because of the drop in oxygen levels, and the effect on the cardiovascular system, untreated sleep apnea has the potential to lead to life-threatening health problems.

Some medical pioneers are hoping to expand the treatment options available to patients with sleep apnea.

Can cannabinoids treat sleep apnea?

Although it certainly remains controversial—not to mention highly regulated—researchers are studying cannabinoids for use in treating a variety of medical problems, including sleep apnea. One new clinical trial is testing a synthetic version of THC, which is the active ingredient in cannabis, for treating this sleep disorder.

The drug, dronabinol, is already used for chemotherapy patients suffering from nausea and vomiting. Now, clinicians believe it might offer new hope to sleep apnea patients who have trouble using the CPAP machine. Dronabinol is thought to work by acting on the neurotransmitters in the brain that influence the upper airway muscles.

Is a sleep apnea computer implant on the horizon?

Can implants help treat sleep apnea? Recently, LivaNova agreed to a $225 million deal for the purchase of ImThera Medical. ImThera Medical has pioneered a revolutionary neurostimulation treatment for sleep apnea, called aura6000. After being implanted inside the patient’s chest, the device works by stimulating the hypoglossal nerve in order to manipulate the positioning of the tongue during sleep. This technology is still in development, and it may be years before it’s accessible to patients—assuming it’s approved for use.

Proven sleep apnea treatments available right now

New sleep apnea treatments on the horizon might not be available for years. In the meantime, every night that your sleep apnea goes untreated places you at an increased risk of serious health complications. Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and stroke are some of the health problems associated with untreated sleep apnea.

You can take advantage of effective, risk-free sleep apnea treatments that are available right now at your dentist’s office. Oral appliance therapy is an excellent alternative to CPAP therapy for many patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. You might also be a good candidate for oral appliance therapy if you have severe sleep apnea, but are unable to use CPAP therapy.

Your dentist will custom-fit your oral appliance. You’ll wear it inside your mouth when you go to bed, and you’ll remove it in the morning. It works by gently nudging the tongue and jaw forward slightly, in order to hold the airway open and prevent cessation of breathing. To get the most benefit from your oral appliance, you need to wear it consistently every night—and remember to clean it every morning!

Get your custom-fitted oral appliance on Long Island

Searching for Long Island sleep apnea treatment? Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry invite sleep apnea patients to schedule a one-on-one consult at our Suffolk County clinic. We’re proud to offer this effective therapy, which has been endorsed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Our financial department can even help you sort through your insurance coverage.

Put an end to your snoring today and support your overall health. Call us at 631-296-0588.

Further resources on new sleep apnea treatments:

  1. National Institutes of Health, Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature,
  2. Fierce Biotech, LivaNova inks $225M deal for sleep apnea startup,

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

19 Oct 2017 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

More than 20 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition that disrupts your breathing and nighttime rest. If you find yourself dozing off on your morning commute, unable to focus or stay awake at work, it may be time to speak with your primary physician about getting tested for sleep apnea.

Snore Score Quiz

There are many tools and methods for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea, including some preliminary tests you can take right in the comfort of your own home. For example, the American Sleep Apnea Association offers a Snore Score Quiz. If you answer “yes” to any of the below, you are encouraged to discuss your risk with a health care professional.

  1. Are you a loud and/or regular snorer?
  2. Do you often have problems with memory or concentration?
  3. Do you fall asleep reading, sitting, watching TV or driving?
  4. Have you ever been observed to gasp or stop breathing during sleep?
  5. Do you feel tired upon awakening, or do you wake up with a headache?
  6. Are you often groggy or fatigued during waking hours?

Diagnosing sleep apnea

If your Snore Score wasn’t great, the next step is scheduling an appointment with your primary doctor, who will evaluate your symptoms and perform a general physical exam. Your current condition and family history will also play a large role in determining whether you will be referred to a Sleep Specialist for further testing.

Doctor’s Visit

Keeping a “sleep diary” for 1-2 weeks that logs how many hours of rest you get, and how alert you feel during the days will be very helpful for your physician. Your doctor will ask if any family member has been diagnosed with a breathing problems or sleep apnea, which may suggest the disorder runs in the family. In addition, they will attempt to rule out other factors that may be affecting your sleep patterns such as mood disorders, substance abuse, prescription medication, or another medical condition. This is done through questions and a thorough physical examination of the nose, mouth and throat. People with sleep apnea typically have enlarged tissues in the soft palate and a pronounced uvula.

Sleep studies

Additional testing may be needed to diagnose sleep apnea. Patients may be asked to spend the night at an accredited sleep center, or take a sleep apnea test at home using monitoring equipment. In-lab sleep studies are some of the most accurate for diagnosis as they generate multiple records brain activity, heart rate, rapid eye movements and blood pressure as you sleep. The testing is known as “polysomnography,” and uses electroencephalogram (EEG), electroculogram (EOG), and electrocardiogram (EKG) for measurements.

Both professional sleep studies administered in a sleep lab and at-home testing provide a substantial amount of data on your sleep cycle and breathing interruptions. Of most importance is the apnea-hypopnea index – AHI – which marks breathing cessation that lasts 10 seconds or longer. An AHI of 5 to 15 is categorized as mild sleep apnea; 15-30 is moderate, while 30 or more is considered severe obstructive sleep apnea.

The severity of your sleep apnea, current health and age will help determine which sleep apnea treatment is most likely to provide results.

Sleep apnea treatment Suffolk County

Oral appliance therapy has proven a highly successful treatment for cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea. Pioneered by dentists, this non-invasive treatment can drastically improve the quality of your sleep and overall health. Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick are highly-trained sleep apnea dentists in Suffolk County, who have years of experience treating both teens and adults.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment in Suffolk County, NY, please call our Long Island practice and schedule a free consultation. You can reach our Rocky Point, NY office at (631) 296-0549.

Additional “Sleep Apnea Testing” Resources:

  1., Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
  2. NIH, How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
  3., Getting a Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Are You at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

19 Sep 2017 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

Snoring is more than just a nuisance for your partner. It could be a symptom of a potentially serious yet common disorder known as sleep apnea. An estimated 25 percent of adults are habitual snorers, and while not always the case, these noisy rumblings may increase your risk for a host of health problems that impact quality of life.

Obstructed sleep apnea is a common yet severely underdiagnosed condition. Recent studies indicate that 20 percent of American adults suffer from mild sleep apnea, which translates to some 40 million people. This disease can affect anyone, regardless of age or sex. It occurs when the throat muscles narrow or temporarily close during sleep, restricting air flow and interrupting breathing. Sufferers usually snore loudly, and are awoken repeatedly through the night, sputtering as they gasp for air.

Today, we have a much greater understanding of obstructive sleep apnea, including its causes and most reliable treatments. Research and anecdotal evidence has also shown us some of the factors that increase risk for developing sleep apnea.

Besides heavy snoring, what are some other risk factors for sleep apnea?

Who is at risk for sleep apnea?

Here are nine factors that increase sleep apnea risk.

  1. Gender – While OSA can affect both sexes, the American Lung Association finds that middle-aged men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea compared to women of a comparable age.
  2. Smokers – Smoke is an irritant that causes airway tissues to swell. According to a 2001 study, smokers are nearly three times more prone to developing sleep apnea than non-smokers.
  3. Weight – There is a strong correlation between obesity and sleep apnea. Research has shown that a modest 10 percent gain in body weight can increase sleep apnea risk six-fold.
  4. Anatomy – People who have a long, soft palate are more likely to have sleep apnea, as this narrows the opening from the nose into the throat. Also, those who have a “disproportionate” jaw size that is too small for a normal-sized tongue.
  5. Large tonsils/adenoids – Sleep apnea is more common in adults, but pre-school children are also prone to the disorder if their adenoids or tonsils are enlarged. A tonsillectomy usually resolves this issue.
  6. Family history – Scientists don’t believe that you can inherit sleep apnea, but genetics do play a role. If your father is being treated for moderate to severe OSA, there is a good chance that you may also be at risk due to similar jaw anatomy.
  7. Alcohol use – Wine, beer and hard liquor too close to bedtime may also be a hazard because of the relaxing effects that alcohol has on throat muscles. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism cautions that alcoholic use can extend the duration of sleep apnea episodes.
  8. Neck girth – According to WebMD, the larger the neck circumference, the higher the risk of obstructive sleep apnea. In men, this means anything over 17 inches, or 15 inches for women.
  9. Race and ethnicity – Thus far, studies have not shown an increased incidence of sleep apnea in certain races or ethnicities. However, rates of sleep apnea are much higher in Western countries, where obesity is much more prevalent.

When to get evaluated

Just because you don’t wake up the neighbors with buzz-like snoring, doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for sleep apnea. Even healthy men and women of normal weight can suffer. Look out for these warning signs:

  • Excessive day time fatigue
  • Morning headaches
  • Frequently waking with a sore throat/dry mouth
  • Diminished libido
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Restless sleep, waking up frequently at night

When getting evaluated for sleep apnea, the severity is determined by how often your breathing is impaired in a one-hour period. Some people may experience only a couple of episodes an hour, while others will suffer more than 20.

Sleep apnea dentist on Long Island

In the past, sleep apnea suffers were often prescribed CPAP machines, which suppress snoring and keep airways open as you sleep. While effective, these bulky devices involve strapping a mask to your face, which can be uncomfortable and claustrophobic to many.

In some cases, sufferers can get relief (and a good night’s rest) simply be wearing a custom-made oral appliance that moves the lower jaw forward. This can be fitted by your dentist, after a thorough assessment and evaluation.

Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot are sleep apnea dentists Long Island trusts, boasting decades of experience successfully treating this common disorder. Call us today to set up a free sleep apnea consultation!

Additional Resources on Sleep Apnea Risk Factors:

  1. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Who Is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
  2. Huffington Post, 8 Things That Increase Sleep Apnea Risk
  3. Apneos, Sleep Apnea is Common — Who Gets It?


5 Warning Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

22 May 2017 by  admin in Sleep Apnea Treatment

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,
  2. Healthy and Natural World – Sleep apnea warning signs you should not ignore,
  3. National Institutes of Health – Sleep apnea signs,
  4. SC Now – Sleep apnea signs,
  5. Web MD – Sleep apnea clues,
  6. NIH – Dry mouth upon awakening in obstructive sleep apnea,
  7. Alaska Sleep – Signs you might have sleep apnea, 
  8. Sleep Disorders Guide – The statistics of sleep apnea,
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Contact our Rocky Point (631.744.5700) or South Huntington Office (631.423.6563) today.
We would love to help you!

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