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Posts Tagged ‘snoring’

Why Shaquille O’Neal Went to Harvard

In Sleep Apnea on May 24, 2011 at 4:30 AM

“Sleep apnea, actually, is a pretty common condition which is most likely under-diagnosed and under-evaluated because many people don’t realize that they have it.”

It’s become such a huge health problem in America and has been linked to the “obesity epidemic, high rates of stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular or heart disease, and even mortality.”

Check out this quick video to hear more frightening news, and see why Shaq is attacking Sleep Apnea!

“Sleep apnea is a condition where a person is unable to get air into their lungs when they fall asleep.”

So those bouts of non-breathing – from snoring out loud to what sounds like no breathing – can not only lead to a poor night’s sleep and all the health maladies associated, it can kill us.

Image courtesy of the American Sleep Apnea Association

Some common Sleep Apnea symptoms:

  • Snoring
  • Frequent waking up at night feeling breathless
  • Irritability (from not getting a good night sleep)
  • High blood pressure

Some possible treatments for Sleep Apnea:

  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
  • OSB® (Oral Systemic Balance Therapy)
  • Oral appliances
  • Weight Loss

To get more facts about sleep apnea from The American Sleep Apnea Association, click here. Be sure to check your snore score, or your significant others, while you’re there.

And don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist about any possible sleep apnea or snoring issues you may be experiencing – first-hand or not.


Division of Sleep Medicine | Harvard Medical School Sleep & Health Education Program

American Sleep Apnea Association

Dentists Against Drowsy Driving

In Sleep Apnea on April 28, 2011 at 4:30 AM

According to The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), motor vehicle accidents due to “drowsy driving” account for $48 billion in medical costs each year. Sleepiness in today’s workplace causes another $150 billion in lost productivity and mistakes. A 2006 report released by the Institute of Medicine estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders.

That was about 5 years ago, do you think that number increased or decreased?

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine established “Dentists Against Drowsy Driving” to raise awareness among healthcare communities and the public about the dangers of untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). As stated by the AADSM, obstructive sleep apnea, like snoring, is a sleep-related breathing disorder. Snoring occurs when the airway is partially constricted. The snoring sound is a result of a collapsed airway. The reduced size of the opening causes the tissues to vibrate, producing the sound.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway partially or completely collapses. This can happen hundreds of times a night, reducing a person’s blood-oxygen levels. When a collapse occurs, the brain wakes the person up to breathe, but they may not even know it. This fragmented sleep pattern can lead to daytime sleepiness – and drowsy driving.

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. A new study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety credits drowsy driving with one in six deadly crashes.

“When you are behind the wheel of a car, being sleepy is very dangerous. Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol, contributing to the possibility of a crash,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger.

But can snoring really be a sign of something more serious?

It can be.

Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. But not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. According to the AASM, habitual snoring affects an estimated 24 percent of adult women and 40 percent of adult men. Approximately one-half of people who snore loudly have sleep apnea. OSA patients often make choking or gasping sounds when they wake up to breathe. This noise can help spouses recognize a breathing problem.

Anyone can have a sleep related breathing disorder. Risk factors include obesity, large neck sizes, alcohol, tobacco smoke, and Down Syndrome. Risk increases with age and weight. OSA is more common in men.

Dangers of Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders

Sleep apnea can cause hypertension, stroke, heart attack, and sudden death during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) increases one’s risk for diabetes, obesity, and depression. It can also cause memory problems, morning headaches, irritability, decreased libido, and impaired concentration. And while the American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates that 18 million Americans have OSA.

Unfortunately, an alarming 80 to 90 percent of these people are undiagnosed and untreated.

We can all take some preventative measures to limit sleep disorders, and we can all communicate more with our doctors and dentists to diagnose any possible symptoms of sleep apnea before things progress to unhealthy or dangerous levels. If you or someone you love snores or experiences any level of sleep disorder, don’t continue to ignore it. Go see your doctor, schedule a diagnostic test with a sleep specialist, and talk to your dentist about readily available and easily affordable sleep disorder solutions.

Don’t Drive Drowsy!

Pass it on.

Can a Child Really Develop Sleep Apnea?

In Sleep Apnea on February 3, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Not getting enough sleep is a problem most of us can identify with. Daily responsibilities, stress, sleeping habits, and even too much caffeine, all negatively impact how restful our nighttime slumber actually is.

But how about our kids?

We figure if they’re in bed on time and up and out on time, then all is well.

As information from research that began years ago begins to come into focus, we are learning how our twice yearly trip to the dentist can not only improve our smile, but it can actually improve our sleeping habits too.

At the recent Rocky Mountain Dental Convention, Dr. Dennis Bailey – a practicing dentist in Colorado dentist with over 25 years of experience in the use of oral appliances to manage snoring and sleep apnea – discussed how nighttime mouth-breathing is negatively impacting not only the quality of our children’s sleep, but also contributing to more serious developmental difficulties.

Nighttime mouth breathing stands as the most problematic, Dr. Bailey said, because it contributes to difficulties such as neurocognitive development, enuresis (bedwetting), poor academic performance, and alterations in craniofacial growth[1].

Dr. Bailey goes on the mention, “What you’re going to find out is that if you breathe through your mouth, all bets are off,” he told his audience. “Breathing during the day is not the same as it is at night. That goes for children, adolescents, adults, and infants. I cannot stress to you enough how deleterious and how damaging mouth breathing is.”

Why is it so dangerous? “Because the nose is the body’s carburetor,” Dr. Bailey said. “Every one of us in this world has brains that require more oxygen at night than they do during the day. If you don’t get that oxygen to the brain during the nighttime, what happens is that a host of neurochemicals are not being produced properly by the brain. It leads to depression, it leads to developmental problems, and it leads to things like ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder].”

According to Dr. Bailey, here are some signs of sleep deprivation in our kids we can look for; reduced attention span, sleepiness, and even snoring. The doctor stresses parents to look for these signs, “Find out if that child or adolescent is a mouth breather at night, and if they are a mouth breather at night, start looking for causes, such as allergies, nasal airway obstructions, or enlarged tonsils.”

“Do they have headaches? Pain? Ear and throat infections? Is their growth and development not on par? Do they have narrow dental arches? High palettes? Malocclusions?” he said. “All of these things are foreboding signs that that child is at risk for a sleep breathing disorder because these are the outcomes that can occur.”

If you have any questions about treating sleep apnea, or how your child’s next dental visit can help improve their sleep – and overall health, be sure to ask your dentist before your next appointment.