By Mark Levy | May 17, 2013
A new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that men who suffer insomnia and disrupted sleep had a higher risk of prostate cancer than those with normal sleep patterns.
This research adds another link to the chain that connects disrupted sleep to cancer risk – prior studies have linked sleep apnea to several types of cancer.
The study looked at almost 2500 Icelandic men over the age of 67 and interviewed them about their sleep patterns. The medical history of the study participants was then tracked for between 3 to 7 years, looking for prostate cancer diagnosis or death from any cause.
Compared with men who reported no sleep problems, those with sleep difficulties were about 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer. Researchers think that the sleep hormone melatonin may be part of the cause. Researchers in lab tests have found that higher melatonin levels suppress tumor growth and that levels similar to those experienced by people who have too much exposure to artificial light are more likely to see aggressive tumor growth.
We now know that good sleep is essential for good health. If you or your partner snores then neither of you are getting the type of restful, restorative sleep that you need to maintain good health. Snoring can be a sign of a more serious sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. There are alternatives to sleeping in another room. Both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can be effectively treated using an oral appliance.
Don’t rely on your regular dentist to make your oral appliance. Extensive training in the field of dental sleep medicine and regular treatment of patients with sleep disorders are signs that a dentist has the knowledge and experience to treat your problem effectively.
To find out more information please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule a consultation. A good, healthy night of sleep is just a phone call away.
By Mark Levy | May 10, 2013
Oral appliance therapy is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea and is covered by most medical insurance policies and Medicare. Oral appliances are available from dentists who have specialized training in the field of dental sleep medicine.
Many patients are unable to tolerate using CPAP to treat their obstructive sleep apnea - and some don’t even want to try. The good news is that oral appliances are highly effective and most people find them more comfortable than CPAP. Most medical insurance policies do not require a trial period with a CPAP before providing benefits for an oral appliance. These oral appliances are covered under medical insurance policies – even though the treatment is rendered by a dentist!
Typically, insurance companies do not have contracts with dentists – so your oral appliance provider will be considered “out of network”. Dentists that work with large numbers of sleep apnea patients usually have a staff member who will help you deal with the insurance companies. Just remember that working with insurance companies can be time consuming and frustrating so be kind to the dental office staff that are filing the insurance for you.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea and are interested in oral appliance therapy there are several things you will need to provide in order for us to begin working on a treatment plan and arranging for medical benefits:
- A written prescription from your physician for an oral appliance
- Your diagnostic sleep study (this must be recent)
- Progress notes from your physician
- If you have tried using CPAP and could not use the device copies of these notes are helpful with the insurance companies
Obstructive sleep apnea has serious long term health consequences if left untreated. Find out more about treating your obstructive sleep apnea using oral appliance therapy by contacting Columbus and Gahanna sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | May 6, 2013
Could there be a link between your melatonin levels and your risk of diabetes? There are lots of studies that have shown links between disrupted sleep and the risk of Type 2 diabetes but the exact relationship is still a mystery.
New research from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women with low levels of melatonin had a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes Melatonin is often called the sleep hormone because it helps regulate our body’s internal clock and our sleep-wake cycle. The body is triggered to release melatonin by the absence of light, so when nighttime comes our melatonin levels rise and our body prepares for sleep. When daylight comes our levels fall back again and we waken. Melatonin is still not fully understood but the hormone also appears to influence body systems such as the immune system and the metabolic system.
Should you be taking melatonin supplements – that is something to discuss with your doctor. One thing you can practice to improve your natural melatonin levels is good sleep hygiene. This means dimming the lights in the evening, no “screen time” for an hour before bed and no sleeping with lights on in the bedroom. Since many of our electronic gadgets have blue glowing LED lights (even when powered off) you might try a small piece of black electrician tape over the offending light source.
If you are diabetic and experience loud snoring and extreme daytime fatigue you may also be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Diabetes and sleep apnea are commonly diagnosed in the same patient. Treating obstructive sleep apnea may help improve your overall health and help you avoid other associated health issues like stroke and heart disease.
To find out more about obstructive sleep apnea and diabetes please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule a consultation.
By Mark Levy | April 29, 2013
Inflammation in the body has been linked to severe health problems and so has sleep apnea. New research has shown that treating sleep apnea reduces inflammation. Many studies have looked at the link between sleep apnea and high levels of inflammation but researchers recently performed a meta-analysis that pooled data from over 20 studies involving over 1,000 patients.
The data suggested that treating sleep apnea with a CPAP significantly reduced levels of two proteins associated with inflammation: tumor necrosis factor and C-reactive protein. CPAP was the only treatment offered to patients in these studies and while it is highly effective, about half of patients can’t use the device or stop using it after a short period of time.
Sleep apnea is a risk factor for serious conditions including heart disease and diabetes. Reducing the inflammation by treating the sleep apnea may help reduce the risk of these conditions.
Patients who are CPAP intolerant do have options that will allow them to treat their apnea. Oral appliance therapy is highly effective and most patients find sleeping with an oral appliance comfortable and easy. Only dentists who have specialized training in the field of dental sleep medicine have the knowledge to match the right oral appliance to the right patient and to perform the necessary adjustments to ensure that the patient is breathing easily all through the night.
Find out more about oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea by contacting Columbus, OH sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | April 17, 2013
We know that sleep problems are related to a whole list of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, immune function, depression and cognitive issue – we just don’t know exactly why.
Scientists may be closer to figuring out the “why”. It turns out that insufficient sleep can significantly disrupt and inhibit normal gene activity. This can occur with hundreds of different genes that affect broad biological functions like our metabolism, immune system, inflammation and stress levels.
Scientists at the University of Surrey in England conducted a small study and found that a week of low sleep changed the activity of more than 700 genes! Many of our genes have activity levels that change with our circadian clock, that is our body’s internal 24 hour clock, and a week of low sleep reduced the number of genes that changed during the day from 1855 to 1481.
Disrupted sleep is strongly associated with diseases such as obesity, meabolic syndrome and diabetes. Some studies have shown that sleep problems can predict whether or not someone will develop metabolic syndrome.
One common reason for disrupted sleep is obstructive sleep apnea. The loud snoring and stoppages of breath while sleeping guarantee that the sleeper will never get a full night of restful sleep (and neither will their bed partner).
Find out more about diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea by contacting Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | April 12, 2013
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common than you might think and most people who suffer from sleep apnea do not know they have it. This is dangerous because sleep apnea has been linked to lots of other health problems, many of them serious. If you have received a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea treating your condition is very important for your health.
- Heart disease is a serious problem for those with sleep apnea. People with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to suffer heart attacks and die during the night. Stroke is also possible.
- Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea go hand in hand. Up to 80% of diabetics suffer from sleep apnea as well. Although scientific studies have not nailed down a specific link, sleep deprivation can cause insulin resistance which is a precursor to diabetes.
- High blood pressure is common among sleep apnea patients. The good news is that treating sleep apnea may reduce blood pressure in some patients.
- Weight gain and sleep apnea are a pair. Being overweight increases your risk of obstructive sleep apnea and having sleep apnea affects the endocrine system of the body causing it to release hormones that make your crave sugars and carbohydrates.
- Adult asthma patients report fewer attacks when they have treated their apnea.
- GERD, also known as acid reflux. While there is no proof of a link many patients with sleep apnea also complain about GERD. Treating the GERD can sometimes help apnea symptoms.
- Patients with sleep apnea experience extreme daytime sleepiness which puts them at a greater risk for accidents. People with sleep apnea are up to 5 times more likely to crash than healthy drivers.
Find out how you can treat your sleep apnea comfortably and effectively without a CPAP by contacting Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | April 2, 2013
Lots of scientific studies have shown the links between obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and other sleep disorders on our overall health but can poor sleep be a matter of life and death?
Problem sleep has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and daytime sleepiness. A new study from the Medical College of Georgia has shown a link between insomnia and the loss of hope which may lead to an increased risk of suicide. The researchers looked at 50 depressed patients between the ages of 20 and 80. More than half had attempted to take their own life and most were on antidepressant medication.
A set of questions was asked of the patients and researchers discovered that insomnia leads to a very specific type of hopelessness. According to Dr. W. Vaughn McCall “The likelihood of being suicidal at least doubles when insomnia is a symptom. This study should remind physicians that sleep and insomnia should be considered when treating depressed patients.
Depression can also be linked to obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which people stop breathing while sleeping. The standard treatment is a CPAP machine but many people find it impossible to sleep with the masks and hoses or the side effects caused by the device.
Oral appliance therapy is available from a dentist who is specially trained in the treatment of sleep apnea patients. This small device looks similar to a sports mouthguard or orthodontic retainer and is worn while sleeping. Most devices work by placing the lower jaw in a slightly forward position which keeps the airway open during sleep – no more stoppages of breathing! Patients report much more energy and clarity in their thinking following a full night of sleep – health issues such as heart disease and diabetes may also be improved.
Please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule a consultation to see if oral appliance therapy is right for you.
By Mark Levy | March 30, 2013
Easter is the season for sticky, gooey goodness in the form of Easter Baskets. Who doesn’t want to dive into that Easter Basket that is overflowing with marshmallow Peeps, chocolate bunnies and all sorts of other treats? Unfortunately, eating too much of this stuff is bad for our health, waistline and our teeth. How about an Easter Basket alternative?
Instead of a basket full of candy think about small toys or games instead. You can use plastic eggs from the dollar store to hide small prizes. Children love to get stickers, activity books, new crayons or markers and bubbles are always lots of fun. Since summer is almost here how about adding some sidewalk chalk so your young artist can decorate the driveway!
Theme baskets are another great idea. If you have a boy that loves a certain sport or sports team you can fill the basket with balls, caps, trading cards or other team swag. Little girls might like a basket of jewelry making supplies, art supplies or a princess basket. Even big kids like to get Easter Baskets so you could include gift cards or DVD’s.
Easter doesn’t have to be completely without candy. Don’t forget to include the chocolate bunny. Chocolate (dark chocolate is better) is actually good for your oral health in moderation!
Go ahead and bite the ears off that chocolate bunny and don’t feel guilty – unless of course the bunny belongs to someone else! If you or a family member do overindulge in seasonal treats and experience tooth decay then contact Columbus cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | March 29, 2013
On the Dr. Oz television show the other day the episode was all about the dangers of silver fillings. Silver fillings is really a misnomer because these types of fillings are actually called dental amalgam and are about 50% mercury.
The danger of this mercury content is what Dr. Oz and his experts were discussing. Mercury is a neurotoxin, it attacks your nervous system and can cause symptoms ranging from tremors to mood swings. Memory loss and fatigue are common signs of mercury toxicity.
The debate over mercury amalgam fillings has raged in the dental community for years. In the US about half of dentists use mercury amalgam fillings and the other half do not. Some European countries, including Sweden, have banned the use of mercury amalgam fillings for health reasons and because of environmental concerns. The mercury waste from these fillings can find its way into the water supply and mercury waste is considered extremely hazardous.
The American Dental Association feels that amalgam is a safe and cost effective restoration material. I will agree that it is cheap and easy to use – but as Dr. Oz’s guest explained, there are so many better filling materials available today. Why use a material that was invented 150 years ago? Newer material actually bond to the teeth to strengthen it even though it has a filling. Amalgam fillings, in contract, weaken the tooth structure and tend to expand and shrink when exposed to hot or cold, further weakening the tooth. A tooth colored restoration not only looks better, it is better for your tooth structure and your health – isn’t that worth a small extra price?
Should you have all your old amalgam fillings removed? One audience member had removed her fillings and many of her symptoms resolved or lessened. Because mercury fillings break down over time you may have to get them replaced as the years go by. When there is decay below the filling, when the filling has cracked or deteriorated it should be replaced.
Mercury vapors can be released by chewing or grinding your teeth. If you grind your teeth you may want to watch this demonstration of the release of mercury vapors simply caused by brushing your teeth. This may be one of the few reasons to go ahead and replace your old fillings immediately. Another reason may be unresolved health issues that no one seems to be able to diagnose – you may simply be more sensitive to mercury than others.
Find out more about your options for mercury free dental care by contacting Columbus cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule an appointment.
By Mark Levy | March 21, 2013
Snoring and sleep disordered breathing aren’t just adult problems. Kids can have these problems too!
A study conducted in Finland found that almost 10% of children exhibited some type of sleep disordered breathing problem and that the rate was equal for girls and boys. The effects of snoring and breathing during sleep are a little different for children. Studies have shown that children with sleep disordered breathing are more likely to exhibit behavioral and emotional problems. Anxiety, hyperactivity and conduct problems are common. Children who exhibit aggressive or bullying behaviors are twice as likely to have some form of sleep-disordered breathing.
A recent study completed in the US looked at 12,000 children aged from six months to 6.75 years. This study found that 1 to 2 percent of children of all ages suffered from sleep apnea and as many as 21% of children were snorers. By age six, 25% of the children were breathing through their mouth during sleep.
Early intervention can help resolve or avoid many of the behavioral and social problems. If your child snores or stops breathing during sleep you should talk to your pediatrician. For many children the problem may be enlarged tonsils which can be resolved with surgery.
Unfortunately for adults with sleep breathing disorders or snoring, simple surgery like tonsil removal is not the answer. If sleeping with a CPAP is driving you crazy or if you have just given up treating your sleep apnea or snoring please contact Columbus OH sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy at 614-476-6696 today.