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.”

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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.