Monday, March 22, 2010

Preventing Problems Down the Road

"Untreated, sleep apnea leads to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes," said Dr. Mark Rasmus in a recent Fox12Idaho interview. "We like to think that by treating sleep apnea, we can prevent further problems down the road."

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious medical condition. However, disease prevention is not the only reason for treating OSA.

Having sleep apnea can make you up to 15 times more likely to be involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident.

Earlier this month, the Official Blog of the AADSM reported on a study that found that bus drivers with OSA have a high rate of excessive daytime sleepiness. Seven percent of bus drivers in the study reported having an accident and 18 percent a near-miss accident due to sleepiness while working.

As Dr. Rasmus explains in the broadcast, there are several ways to control breathing problems during sleep.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is one option. CPAP keeps a person’s airway open during sleep by providing a steady stream of air through a mask. The mask attaches to a hose, which works like a reverse vacuum. CPAP is the gold-standard treatment for OSA.

Dentists can also treat OSA patients with oral appliances. This device moves the jaw forward during sleep to maintain a healthy level of airflow. Oral appliances look like sports mouth guards. They are a safe CPAP alternative.

Image by st0l1

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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.