By Mark Levy | May 24, 2013
Chronic pain is the most common reason that people visit the doctor. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are being linked to other health conditions with each new study that emerges and now there is a link between chronic pain and sleep apnea.
This is a special relationship between sleep apnea and chronic pain because it goes both ways. People who suffer from pain have fragmented sleep and their normal sleep patterns are disrupted. People who suffer from poor quality or insufficient sleep have decreased pain thresholds and impaired recovery from injuries.
It is estimated that 28 million Americans have sleep problems due to chronic pain problems and among chronic pain patients, more than half experience sleep disturbances (some reports put the number even higher at 70-88% of patients). Compared with patients who do not complain of sleep problems, the patients with chronic pain and sleep issues report lower quality of life and visit healthcare providers more often.
Because narcotics are often used to treat pain, and these drugs are known to affect breathing, many pain patients develop abnormal breathing patterns during sleep. The treatment of opioid-induced sleep breathing problems is similar to that for other types of sleep apnea. CPAP is a common option and oral appliances are also effective for patients who are CPAP intolerant.
Treating sleep disordered breathing in chronic pain patients who are taking pain medications that affect breathing can improve pain levels and overall quality of life, and it may also reduce healthcare usage for chronic pain patients.
Find out more about sleep disordered breathing and oral appliance therapy by contacting Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.
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 | February 20, 2013
There have been very few studies that look at a healthy diet and how it relates to a healthy sleep. A new study to be released in the journal Appetite wanted to know if there were any differences in the diets of people who reported shorter sleep, longer sleep or standard sleep patterns.
Study author, Michael A. Grandner of the University of Pennsylvania said “Although many of us inherently recognize that there is a relationship between what we eat and how we sleep, there have been very few studies that have explored this connection, especially in a real-world situation.” His team analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an annual survey sponsored by the CDC which gathers data about diet, health, socioeconomic levels and demographics.
According to Grandner “Overall people who sleep 7-8 hours each night differ in terms of their diet, compared to people who sleep less or more. We also found that snort and long sleep are associated with lower food variety. A high variety of food in a diet is considered a leading indicator of a healthy diet.
Food variety was highest in the normal sleep group and lowest in the very short sleep group. Very short sleep, less than 5 hours per night, was linked to less intake of water, lycopene (a nutrient in red or orange colored foods such as tomatoes), and total carbohydrates. Short sleep of 5-6 hours per night was linked to lower intake of vitamin C, water and selenium. Long sleep of over 9 hours was tied to lower intake of choline (eggs), theobromine (chocolate and tea), dodecanoic acid (a type of saturated fat) and total carbohydrates. Long sleepers also had higher alcohol intakes.
If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep you might take a look at your diet and try adding new, healthy foods and getting rid of simple carbohydrates with little nutritional value. Watch the alcohol intake and drink lots more water. If snoring is keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, either your own or your bed partner’s, it may be time to be checked for obstructive sleep apnea. Loud snoring, gasping for breath while sleeping and extreme daytime sleepiness are signs.
For more information and to talk about your treatment options please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | February 12, 2013
A myth is a story that is repeated often but isn’t actually true. Here are 6 myths about the importance of sleep and the truth behind the myth.
Most people don’t realize just how important sleep is for their brain function and overall health – in fact science is just starting to unlock what really happens while we are sleeping!
- Sleep isn’t that important because all that happens is your brain rests. Not true. Our brains are more active during sleep than they are during the day. During sleep our short-term memories get registered and “filed” in the cabinet that is our brain. This is a physical change in the brain that only happens as a by-product of sleep. Skip this important step and the things you learned today won’t be available for you to retrieve in the future.
- My body is used to sleeping less so I don’t need 7 or 8 hours. This myth is really common and you also hear about people who have gone “years” only sleeping 5 hours a night and they achieve great things. Most of us need 7 to 8 hours per night and you cannot condition yourself to operate on less sleep. When you are sleep deprived your mental performance is affected and even worse, we lose the ability to accurately judge how impaired our thinking actually is. A study done in 2003 showed that reducing sleep to 6 hours per night hurt mental performance as much as staying awake for 2 nights straight. Those folks who get by on less and still thrive – mutants!
- Weekends are for catching up on sleep. Sleeping late on Saturday and Sunday won’t make up for skipping sleep during the week. The productivity lost due to lack of sleep during the week won’t come back by getting up at noon on Sunday either. The best sleep habits mean keeping to the same schedule, this means going to bed and waking at approximately the same time every day (including weekends). Researchers have proven that a steady sleep schedule keeps our brains in top condition.
- Caffeine can make up for skipped sleep. Coffee might make you feel more awake but your thinking will still be slower than normal. Your body and brain goes through essential repair and rebuilding while you sleep – a caffeine jolt can’t mimic the physical restoration of a good night’s sleep. Drinking too much coffee when you are tired impairs your thinking even more by adding the jitters to the mix and making you feel even sleepier when it wears off.
- I’ll gain weight if I sleep 8 hours a night. This is a big, fat myth! Studies are now showing that a good night’s sleep is important for weight loss – plus you can’t snack while you are snoozed. Most diet doctors are now prescribing a full night of sleep every night along with a healthy diet to lose excess pounds.
- A good night’s sleep is impossible for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Not true – sleep apnea sufferers, and their bed partners, suffer from lack of sleep before they are diagnosed. Some patients find relief using a CPAP device but about half of patients have trouble sleeping in the mask. An oral appliance is a comfortable, easy way to treat your obstructive sleep apnea and breath easily all night long allowing you (and your significant other) a good night’s sleep.
If you snore loudly, have gained weight and suffer from daytime sleepiness you may have sleep apnea. Please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.