Thursday, January 28, 2010

A New Game Plan for Reducing Obesity in America

First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin announced plans today to help Americans lead healthier lives.

Currently, two-thirds of adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese. They have an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnea, among other diseases.

Sleep apnea prevents people from breathing normally at night. One reason obese people experience it more often is because they have excess skin on their neck that pushes down on their airway during sleep. Sleep apnea can make it more difficult to lose weight and should be treated. Learn more about sleep apnea here.

The new plan is outlined in the Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation.

An overview is provided below:

Improving our communities – Neighborhoods and communities should become actively involved in creating healthier environments. The availability of supermarkets, outdoor recreational facilities and the limitation of advertisements of less healthy foods and beverages are all examples of ways to create a healthier living environment.

Healthy Choices and Healthy Home Environments – Change starts with the individual choices Americans make each day for themselves, their families and those around them. Reducing the consumption of sodas and juices with added sugars; eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains; limiting television time; and being more physically active help us achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Creating Healthy Child Care Settings – It is estimated that more than 12 million children ages 0-6 receive some form of child care on a regular basis from someone other than their parents. Parents should talk with their child care providers about changes to promote their children’s health.

Creating Healthy Schools – To help students develop life-long health habits, schools should provide appealing healthy food options including fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, water and low-fat beverages. School systems should also require nutrition standards and daily physical education for students.

Creating Healthy Work Sites – Employers can implement wellness programs that promote healthy eating in cafeterias, encourage physical activity through group classes and create incentives for employees to participate.

Mobilizing Medical Communities – Medical care providers must make it a priority to teach their patients about the importance of good health. Doctors and other health care providers are often the most trusted source of health information and are powerful role models for healthy lifestyle habits.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Screening for Heart Disease in the Dental Chair?

Have trouble choosing between mint and bubblegum flavored fluoride? In the future, you may have to decide if you want your dentist screening you for diabetes.

A new study by researchers at the University of Buffalo found that many dentists are willing to screen their patients for diseases like hypertension and hepatitis.

The study was published this month in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

More than 7,400 general dentists were surveyed. A total of 1,945 respondents completed the survey.

Of the respondents, 82 percent were male. Fifty-nine percent were between the ages of 40 and 59. And 85 percent had practiced dentistry for 10 years or more.

Three out of every four dentists thought it was important for them to screen for hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A majority indicated they would be willing to check patients for hepatitis and HIV.

Screening could involve taking blood pressure or measuring height and weight. Dentists might also collect saliva and blood samples.

“Chair-side” dental screenings may help slow the growing number of people with heart disease and diabetes. Many Americans see their dentist twice a year, so this would allow dentists to monitor their health regularly.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine already educates dentists on treating sleep apnea. Treatment of sleep apnea can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Two more studies are being prepared for publication. One looks at patients' attitudes toward dentists performing chair-side screenings for medical conditions. The other examines physicians' attitudes toward dental chair-side screening.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Treating Sleep Apnea on the Emerald Isle

A recent article in the Irish Times gives some sound advice for putting the kibosh on snoring.

Snoring can damage the sleep quality of both bed partners and incur the jabbing elbows of an aggravated spouse, but the reporter warns readers not to get too excited for the “cures” found on store shelves. Sleep experts question the long–term benefits of products like nasal strips, sprays and rings used to stop snoring.

Snoring may be a sign of a more serious condition. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are often confused.

The Official Blog of the AADSM reported on snoring and sleep apnea in America earlier this month.

Not all people who snore suffer from OSA. An estimated one in eight Americans snores. Of these 30 million snorers, more than half, or 18 million, suffer from sleep apnea.

Left untreated, sleep apnea can impair memory, concentration and mood. It also puts a person at risk for heart disease and stroke.

AADSM member, John O’Brien, BDS, helps many sleep apnea patients at his practice in Dublin, Ireland.

Once a patient is diagnosed with sleep apnea by a sleep physician, Dr. O’Brien can fit him or her with a custom-made dental device.

This oral appliance helps the sleep apnea patient breathe at night by moving his or her jaw and tongue forward, opening the airway.

“People are wandering around not realizing they are half asleep and it is only after they have used the appliance for a while do they realize the difference a good night’s sleep makes,” said Dr. O’Brien.

There are many oral appliances that treat snoring and/or sleep apnea.

Image by Joe H

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree: The Effects of Smoking on Sleep Apnea in Adults and Children

Researchers have long known that smoking can increase a person’s risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

A 2001 study in the journal Sleep and Breathing examined the prevalence of smoking in patients with OSA compared to patients without OSA.

The researchers compiled a group of 108 OSA patients who had an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of greater than 10 events per hour. They compared these patients’ smoking history with that of 106 people without OSA.

They found that 35 percent of the OSA patients smoked. In contrast, 18 percent of patients without OSA smoked.

Smokers were found to be 2.5 times more likely to have OSA than former smokers and nonsmokers combined.

Smokers who quit saw their risk for sleep apnea decrease. In the study, former smokers were no more likely than people who had never smoked to have OSA.

Researchers now believe that parents’ smoking habits can also disturb their children’s’ sleep.

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that asthmatic children who lived with a smoker had more sleep disturbances than asthmatic children not exposed to smoke.
The study included 219 children. All of them were aged six to 12.

The researchers interviewed parents about their children's sleep habits, asthma severity and exposure to secondhand smoke at home and elsewhere. They also took blood samples to measure the children’s exposure to tobacco smoke.

The results showed that children who lived with a smoker, tended to have poorer sleep at night. Sleep troubles included nighttime breathing symptoms. They also had difficulty falling asleep and experienced more sleepwalking, nightmares and night terrors. These children also felt drowsier during the day.

The researchers suggested that the children’s nighttime breathing problems contributed to their daytime sleepiness. Childhood sleep disturbances can impact attention and behavior problems, and poorer school performance.

The researchers thought that the smoke and nicotine may have damaged the children’s airways and sleep patterns.

The study only included children with asthma, but secondhand smoke may also disturb the sleep of otherwise healthy children.

Read the full Reuters Health article at Fox News.

Image by Anachronista

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mile Marker Reached in Trucker Safety

The trucking industry has been buzzing about the new hours of service (HOS) reform. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched this safety reform effort late last year.

The first of four public “listening sessions” occurred this week to gather people’s thoughts on the current HOS.

A key part of these discussions involved how the trucking industry should handle sleep disorders.

An estimated 28 percent of truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea. They have a much higher rate than the general population. In contrast, four percent of men and two percent of women suffer from the same condition.

Having sleep apnea can make you up to 15 times more likely to be involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident. So safety precautions with truckers could make the roads safer from everyone using them.

Steve Keppler is the interim executive director for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

Keppler urged the FMCSA to implement fatigue management, driver health and wellness programs.

Keppler suggested that they make regulatory changes to minimize driver risk and improve driver alertness, health and performance based on research and science.

Learn more safety reform here.

Read more about HOS reform at the Trucks at Work Blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Americans Need to Jump Back on the Treadmill

Weight loss is one way to treat sleep apnea. Unfortunately, Americans are exercising less than they were a year ago.

A New Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey found that Americans exercised less in 2009 than in 2008. Read more at WebMD.

The percentage of Americans saying they exercised for at least 30 minutes one day or more per week decreased. These results come from more than 350,000 phone surveys that were given each year.

An estimated 68 percent of people agreed with this statement in 2009. This number is down one percent from 2008.

These results come from more than 350,000 phone surveys that were given each year.

But there may be hope for the next generation of Americans.

A new task force found that early intervention can help obese teens and children lose their extra pounds.

The group is called the Early Intervention, Treatment Effective, Task Force. Its members reviewed 20 studies that have come out since 2005. The studies included more than 1,000 children.

The studies showed that children who went through obesity screening programs and behavioral treatment programs decreased their weight over time.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has published guidelines for physicians. These guidelines recommend placing obese children on a controlled weight-loss regimen. Participants will undergo a strict diet, rigorous activity and behavior counseling.

The new guidelines are a departure from the task force's conclusion five years ago that pediatric obesity programs offer few benefits.

The task force said that newer studies show that these programs do help.

The programs could be costly and hard to monitor, but they might help reverse the rise in obesity. Obesity increases a person’s risk for sleep apnea and many other conditions. So the sooner these programs get started the better.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that people with sleep apnea combine weight loss with oral appliance therapy or CPAP.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

“America’s Doctor” Spotlights Sleep Apnea

On today’s show, Dr. Oz highlighted a serious condition that affects more than 18 million Americans.

He also discussed the importance of treating sleep apnea earlier this month.

Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder that causes a person to stop breathing during sleep. These pauses occur when their airway collapses, preventing airflow. Their brain wakes them up to breathe, causing fragmented sleep quality.

Sleep apnea can occur when throat muscles relax too much. It can also result from excess fat around the neck pushing down on the airway. Enlarged tongue and tonsils may also narrow the airway.

Dr. Oz explains several signs of sleep apnea that people need to know:

• Daytime sleepiness
Loud snoring
• Interrupted Breathing during Sleep
• Morning Headaches
• Memory Problems
• Large neck size (over 17 inches for men and 16 for women)

He also outlines some ways to reduce the severity of sleep apnea:

• Stop smoking
• Lose excess weight
• Avoid alcohol and sedatives

Diagnosis of this disorder occurs at a sleep center.

Patients who have severe sleep apnea should use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) to treat their condition. Patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea can also use oral appliance therapy if they do not tolerate or comply with CPAP.

Dr. Oz explains that oral appliances are portable dental devices worn in the mouth at night to move the lower jaw forward. Dentists trained in dental sleep medicine can select, fit and adjust these appliances to treat sleep apnea patients.

Dr. Oz leaves his fans with some wise closing words. “No one needs to suffer when they sleep. Getting rid of sleep apnea will not only change your life, it can save your life.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Huffington Post Asks Its Readers: Is Your Snoring Deadly?

This morning, Huffington Post writer Dana Ullman posed an important question to his readers. He asked, Is Your Snoring Problem Benign or Deadly?

Snoring is a common problem in America. So common, that many people don’t think twice about it. It’s likely they see snoring as aggravating, instead of a much deeper problem.

In addition to keeping up spouses and friends, sleep apnea can damage a person’s overall health.

Ullman’s own wife suffered from sleepless night because of his snoring. And he jokes that his snoring made his camping buddies think there was an alligator “stalking and devouring prey” in his tent at night. But sleep apnea can dramatically impact people’s lives. So it is important to pay attention to the signs, such as snoring.

Do snorers always have sleep apnea? The answer is no.

An estimated one in eight Americans snore. Of these 30 million snorers, more than half, or 18 million, suffer from sleep apnea.

While sleep apnea can be easily treated, 80-90 percent of people with sleep apnea go undiagnosed and untreated.

Left untreated, sleep apnea increases a patient’s risk for stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Patients also have a higher risk for diabetes, obesity and driving accidents.

When Ullman finally decided to get treatment, he looked at all his options.

In his article, Ullman explains why he chose oral appliance therapy. He found CPAP and surgery too invasive.

So he went to his dentist to get fitting for an oral appliance. He wore this device at night like a mouth guard. It kept his airway open so he could breathe normally and live a healthier life.

Oral appliance therapy should be performed by a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine. Find one here.

Image by D. Scott Lipsey

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sleep Apnea Treatment Bodes Well For Type 2 Diabetics

A New study from the University of Chicago found that untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can negatively impact type 2 diabetics.

OSA occurs when a person’s airway collapses repeatedly during sleep. This disruption in airflow causes the person to wake up and breathe throughout the night. Sleep apnea often keeps people from getting restorative sleep.

The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. It showed that OSA may negatively affect glucose control. In turn, this effect worsens the health problems associated with type 2 diabetes.

The study involved 60 people with type 2 diabetes. They were all 41 to 77 years old.

Patients underwent an overnight sleep study. The study determined if they had sleep apnea.

Three-quarters of the patients suffered from OSA. None of them were receiving treatment.

There were 23 people with mild sleep apnea. Fifteen people had moderate apnea. And eight people suffered from severe OSA.

Increasing severity of sleep apnea was clearly linked with poorer glucose control. This association remained even after taking into account factors like obesity. Obesity can lead to more complications for diabetes patients.

The American Thoracic Society estimates that 80 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes have OSA.

This study suggests that sleep apnea treatment can improve diabetes management and glycemic control.

Patients have many treatment options, including oral appliance therapy.

The researchers hope that physicians will encourage their type 2 diabetes patients to get screened for OSA.

Source: WebMD

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Win for America in the War against Obesity-Related Diseases

A major contributor to sleep apnea, obesity, may be losing its grip in the U.S.

Two new government studies found that America’s obesity rate may be leveling off instead of increasing.

One-third of Americans are obese. More than two-thirds are overweight. These people have an increased risk for sleep apnea, diabetes and heart disease.

Public health advocates have been fighting the obesity rate with education. They seem to be making headway.

The studies examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The data were gathered from 2007 to 2008. These numbers were compared with statistics from 1999 through 2006.

One study focused on adults. The other study highlighted children.

Results of the studies were published online yesterday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In a HealthDay article on the studies, Dr. Anirban Basu explained the results. He said that better awareness about obesity and obesity-related disease played a part in this plateau.

The results were promising. But doctors are quick to remind Americans that there is still a lot of weight to be lost before claiming victory over obesity and obesity-related diseases.

Some people have a higher risk of obesity than others.

Boys aged 6 to 19 still have a rising obesity rate.

The researchers found that the risk of obesity increased with age. The biggest risk came after age 40.

Black and Mexican-American women and Black men were more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oral Appliance Therapy Gains Popularity in the Hawkeye State

American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) member John Clary, DDS, was recently featured in a Des Moines Register article highlighting the value of oral appliance therapy (OAT).

One of Dr. Clary’s patients, Dave Huntley, described how oral appliance therapy changed his life.

Huntley used Continues Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) for eight years to treat his obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Like some patients, he never got used to sleeping with the CPAP tubes and mask. He wanted a treatment he was comfortable with, especially for when he traveled.

"Carrying a CPAP was a little cumbersome. I stay in motels and sometimes you can't find a plug-in," he said.

Huntley found his solution in Dr. Clary’s dental office.

Many OSA patients do not know about treatments other than CPAP. But the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recognizes oral appliance therapy as a safe and affective treatment option.

When Huntley tried his oral appliance for the first time, he was thrilled with the results.

"It was the best night's sleep I've had in years," he said.

He liked how the device did not dry out his nasal passages and how it could be carried in his pocket. One of the best parts – his oral appliance did not stop Huntley from going camping during the summer.

Huntley is not alone in his CPAP concerns. An estimated 25 to 50 percent of OSA patients do not tolerate or comply with CPAP. Oral appliance therapy helps meet these patient’s needs so that their OSA does not go untreated.

Dr. Clary makes sure that his patients have been diagnosed with OSA through a formal sleep study before fitting them with an appliance. He screens patients through a short survey and refers them to a sleep center as needed.

Like many dental sleep medicine specialists, Clary lends patients’ a home monitoring device that they can wear on their wrist overnight. This device monitors their breathing episodes, allowing him to track the effectiveness of their therapy.

Find-A-Dentist near you who is trained in dental sleep medicine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To Comply or Not To Comply?

Patient compliance is a major issue in sleep apnea treatment.

CPAP is the first line of treatment for sleep apnea patients. But patient CPAP adherence is not as high as doctors would like. When patients do not treat their sleep apnea, they have a higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Because of these risks, many patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea choose to use oral appliance therapy instead of CPAP. Oral appliances allow people to treat their apnea in a silent, non-invasive way.

As in sleep medicine, physicians treating high cholesterol are faced with compliance problems.

In a recent Reuter's article, Dr. Amir Shroufi explained why statins are not as effective as they could be.

Statins lower people’s "bad," low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol. Like sleep apnea treatments, these drugs can reduce the risk of heart attacks or stroke. But experts estimate that only 50 percent of people prescribed statins take them in the long term.

A recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that encouraging patients to continue taking their prescribed cholesterol drugs would prevent twice as many stroke and heart attack deaths as giving the drugs to a wider range of people.

"Generally people need to be taking these statins for the long term -- often for the rest of their lives," said Dr. Shroufi.

He said the best way to boost patient adherence is for doctors to give a clear explanation of the long-term benefits of the treatment.

Are you suffering from sleep apnea but not comfortable with CPAP? Find-a-dentist in your area trained in oral appliance therapy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

On the Horizon: The First Sleep Apnea Drug Treatment?

Vivus Inc.'s anti-obesity drug Qnexa was shown to reduce sleep apnea by 69 percent in a mid-stage trial.

Some participants were given Qnexa while others took a placebo. The patients receiving Qnexa saw increased weight loss, reduced blood pressure and a better oxygen concentration.

Because obesity is a major factor in developing sleep apnea, the researchers suspected that weight-loss treatment might help treat the sleep disorder.

The Phase II study included 45 sleep apnea patients at a single location. Before Vivus appeals for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - approval, a larger trial will need to confirm the results.

This research is certainly promising for more than 18 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea. But treating sleep apnea with a drug may have negative side effects.

Topamax (topiramate) is one component of Qnexa. It has been shown to cause tingling in the hands and feet and cognitive side effects. Pregnant women cannot use topiramate because of birth defect risks.

Qnexa may become a treatment option in the future. But for now, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends CPAP for the first line of treatment. CPAP uses a machine to blow air through a face mask, keeping air passages open during sleep.

Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is also indicated for mild to moderate OSA patients if they prefer it to CPAP, cannot tolerate CPAP, or are unable to use positional therapy or weight loss to control their apnea. Oral appliances (OAs) are recommended for severe OSA patients if they cannot tolerate CPAP.

Read more about Qnexa at the Wall Street Journal.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sleep Apnea: Central Verses Obstructive

There are two types of sleep apnea. Both types cause people to stop breathing as they sleep. When this happens, their brain forces them awake to breathe.

People with OSA stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds, sometimes for one minute or longer hundreds of times a night.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the type of apnea that can be treated with oral appliance therapy (OAT). Because OSA occurs when the airway becomes blocked, the problem can be remedied by opening up the airway. Oral devices do this by moving the lower jaw and tongue forward.

A common cause of OSA is obesity. When a person’s throat is too heavy, it can collapse on the airway during sleep. Learn more risk factors here.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is not caused by a collapsed airway. Instead, it reflects a problem in the brain or heart. CSA results when these organs move an abnormal amount of oxygen into the lungs.

There are five sub-categories of CSA. One form of central sleep apnea commonly affects people with congestive heart failure. CSA can also result from a stoke damaging the brainstem.

Like OSA, CSA can be treated with positive airway pressure (PAP). PAP keeps a person’s airway open during sleep by providing a steady stream of air though a nose and mouth mask.

OSA and CSA share several warning signs. These signs include loud snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. People with CSA may also wake up short of breath or have trouble falling asleep.

OSA and CSA can both be diagnosed at an overnight sleep study. Find an accredited sleep center near you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Obesity Replaces Smoking as Top U.S. Health Threat

An article in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that obesity had a worse effect on people’s lives than smoking.

Researchers found that obesity is an equal, if not greater, contributor to the burden of disease and shortening of healthy life in comparison to smoking.

In a article, Dr. Arya Sharma explained why obesity can be more dangerous than smoking.

"Health impacts of obesity are, in many ways, much larger, than the health impacts of smoking," said Dr. Sharma, "(Smoking) in the end, is limited to heart disease and cancer."

In contrast, obesity has a wide range of negative effects.

Obesity can lead to diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, joint replacement and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Sleep apnea is a serious condition. Left untreated, OSA can make it more difficult to lose weight because it drains a person of energy. Treating OSA can help break this cycle.

This new study supports what health advocates have said for years.

This 15-year study included more than 3.5 million individuals. Interviews were conducted annually. Researchers tracked overall physical and mental health of the population.

From 1993 to 2008, the proportion of adult smokers decreased by 18.5 percent. During this time, the proportion of obese people increased by 85 percent.

Overall, smoking had a bigger impact on deaths. Obesity had a bigger impact on illness.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sleep Study Innovations: Truck Stops Catering to Sleepy Drivers

The Wall Street Journal’s Private Equity Beat Blog covered an interesting new option for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Some of Pilot Travel Centers’ 300 locations will now offer sleep studies to truckers who want to get tested for OSA.

Many truck drivers’ schedules make it inconvenient to go for an overnight sleep study off route. But testing for sleep apnea may be as simple as finding a truck stop and pulling in for the night.

Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab and Pilot aim to bring services to drivers instead of making them take time off the clock to visit a sleep center.

According to a press release, they hope that employers will ask their drivers to get tested. Some trucking companies already require that their drivers get tested for OSA.

The sleep studies will be conducted after hours in the health clinics that currently exist at Pilot Travel Centers. More centers are slated for construction.

It is important to treat sleep apnea as soon as possible. A 2000 study in the journal SLEEP found that moderate to severe OSA increases a driver’s risk of having a motor vehicle accident up to fifteen-fold.

An estimated 28 percent of truckers have OSA, creating a major road safety issue.

Left untreated, OSA also raises a person’ risk for hypertension, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Sleep apnea can be safely and effectively treated. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends CPAP and oral appliance therapy.

OSA should be diagnosed at a sleep center. There are more than 1,860 AASM accredited sleep centers. Find one near you.

Image by Lance

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dr. Oz Confronts Sleep Apnea

“If you're at risk for sleep apnea (for instance, if you smoke, are overweight or have high blood pressure, among other factors), get diagnosed and treated,” Dr. Mehmet Oz tells USA Weekend readers.

In fact, it’s one of his top 16 healthy tips for feeling better in 2010.

After decades of clinical practice, Dr. Oz knows that getting sleep is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy.

If we want to have better long-term and short-term health, we need to make certain choices. One of these choices involves improving our sleep quality.

It’s hard to improve your sleep if you are one of the many Americans who unknowingly suffer from a sleep disorder. Unfortunately, 80 to 90 percent of people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) go undiagnosed and untreated. There are some common risk factors that you can read about here.

If you do have OSA, oral appliance therapy (OAT) is one of your treatment options. Many dentists are trained to treat sleep apnea using oral appliances that keep the airway open during sleep. These devices work by moving the lower jaw forward.

Patients who have mild to moderate sleep apnea sometimes choose to use OAT because oral appliances are non-invasive and silent. Severe sleep apnea patients who cannot tolerate CPAP, the standard treatment therapy, may also want to ask their physician about OAT.

If better health if your goal, it’s important to consider the signs of OSA. Sleep apnea can be confused with snoring, but it is much more dangerous. It often causes loud gasping, choking or snorting sounds during sleep.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, take control of your health and visit a sleep center.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Revving Up Your Health for 2010

CNN Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis recommended treating sleep apnea in her 2010 New Year’s Resolution article.

In addition to eating healthy and sleeping 7-8 hours a night, Dr. Jampolis stressed treating sleep apnea to improve your overall health in 2010.

Many people do not realize that they suffer from a sleep-related breathing disorder (SBD). But more than 18 millions Americans have one: sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and primary snoring are both examples of SBD. They are conditions that affect how you breathe during sleep.

People with sleep apnea are at risk for many diseases. They have high rates of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, driving accidents and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Fifty to 75 percent of people with sleep apnea are treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), the standard treatment therapy. CPAP keeps your airway open as you sleep with a steady stream of air. Most CPAP units are about the size of a small tissue box and plug into the wall. The box has a fan that pushes air through a tube. The tube is connected to a mask that you wear as you sleep. This mask allows the air to gently blow into the back of your throat.

There are other treatment options. Twenty-five to 50 percent of sleep apnea patients cannot tolerate CPAP and use oral appliance therapy to treat their SBD. An oral appliance looks like a mouth guard and repositions your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open at night.

Whether it’s with CPAP or oral appliance therapy, treating sleep apnea is important. Dr. Jampolis highlights sleep apnea because it’s a health condition that can't wait until 2011.

Learn how sleep apnea is diagnosed.


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.