Thursday, November 5, 2009

One Thing to Consider before Teeing Off

A new study on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may help your golf game.

Reuters Health explains that when treated with nasal positive airway pressure (nPAP), golfers with moderate to severe sleep apnea improved their handicap.

Twelve golfers were given nPAP treatment and assessed during 20 rounds of golf. Their results were compared to the performance of 12 control golfers.

On average, the golfers who received treatment saw their handicap lower more than one point. Some of the better golfers who received treatment saw their handicaps drop as many as three points.

Sleep apnea should not go untreated. It can cause excessive daytime sleepiness and cognitive problems. Beyond hurting your golf game, sleep apnea increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and driving accidents.

nPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), is the standard treatment therapy for sleep apnea. But 25 to 50 percent of people who are treated do not tolerate this option. The Reuters Health article explains that some people find nPAP uncomfortable, noisy or embarrassing.

Oral appliances are a safe and effective alternative. They are fitted by dentists and are worn at night like a mouth guard.

Signs of OSA include morning headaches, daytime sleepiness and snoring. Eighty to 90 percent of people with apnea are undiagnosed and untreated. Visit a sleep center to get tested for this serious medical condition.

You can hear a podcast about this study at Scientific American.

Photo by Annais Ferreira

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.