Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Success Story: Woman Enjoys Her Best Night of Sleep in Years

When Mary Keeler, now 61, arrived at Tufts University’s Dental Clinic, she hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for almost 15 years, reports Tufts Journal.

Since 1993, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) had damaged Keeler’s health, mood, work and relationships.

“I was sleeping my life away, but I couldn’t seem to get to the bottom of it,” said Keeler.

Keeler described her path to diagnosis and treatment as a winding and frustrating one. At first, her EDS was mistaken for a symptom of depression. But in 2006, Keeler underwent a sleep study and was diagnosed with moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Her initial treatment was CPAP, which involved sleeping with a face mask connected to an air pump. Keeler found the mask awkward and uncomfortable. Her husband could not sleep in the same room as the CPAP machine, which produced what Keeler described as “white noise.”

“Well, I hated it. I absolutely hated it,” she said.

After a decade and a half, Keeler found her answer at the dentist’s office. Her sleep physician referred Keeler to her dentist to get a custom-made oral appliance.

A follow-up sleep study found that while the sleep apnea was gone, Keeler was not getting enough REM sleep. Her sleep physician prescribed medication, which in combination with the oral appliance therapy, solved her sleep problems.

“All of a sudden, I woke up like a new person,” said Keeler. “I thought, ‘So that’s what it feels like to get a good night’s sleep.’”

Oral appliance therapy is recommended for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Find-a-dentist in your area who is trained to treat sleep apnea.

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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.