Monday, March 29, 2010

A Quick Look at Sleep Apnea for People on the Run

USA Weekend published a good overview of OSA this past weekend. The Official Blog of the AADSM provides useful patient information regularly.

While OSA is a serious medical condition, it is simpler to understand and treat than people realize.

It happens when the tissues in a person’s throat collapse during sleep, preventing airflow. When the person’s oxygen reaches a low level, the brain wakes the person up to breathe. Arousals can happen hundreds of times a night – leading to poor sleep quality.

OSA is an easy disease to overlook because it happens during sleep. Bed partners can help detect a sleep disorder like OSA. Signs to look for include loud snoring, morning headaches and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Oral appliance therapy is a popular treatment option for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. This option is performed by dentists trained in dental sleep medicine. A dental device used to treat OSA looks like a sports mouth guard but is worn during sleep.

Once diagnosed, sleep apnea is not hard to treat. Untreated sleep apnea can cause heath problems, so it is important to speak with a doctor. Sleep apnea increases a person’s risk for diabetes, obesity, heart disease and stroke. It also raises their risk for depression, attention and memory problems and driving accidents.

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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.