By Mark Levy | June 18, 2013
It turns out that women are just as much at risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea as men. Sleep apnea has long been thought to afflict men at a much higher rate but a study from Sweden showed that the sleep disorder was common in both sexes.
The study looked at a random sample of 10,000 women aged 20 to 70 and gathered data on 400 of them. The subjects also had an overnight sleep study.
Amazingly, half of the women were diagnosed with sleep apnea. While most had mild sleep apnea, 20% had moderate cases and 6% were severe. There were links between sleep apnea and blood pressure, body weight and age. The older and heavier they were and the higher the blood pressure, the more likely the women were to have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is dangerous if not treated and has been linked to sudden cardiac death, heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Treatment using an oral appliance is effective and comfortable. Find out more about the easy way to treat your sleep apnea by contacting Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | June 13, 2013
Researchers have now found that people with obstructive sleep apnea may be at greater risk for sudden cardiac death. The researchers from the Yaho Clinic in Rochester MN found that the risk of sudden cardiac death or resuscitated cardiac arrest increased with reduced oxygen levels during sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea has long been associated with heart disease and risk of early death. “A specific link to sudden cardiac death was suggested by the finding that sudden cardiac death is more likely to occur during usual sleep hours in individuals with obstructive sleep apnea, which is the time when sudden cardiac death is least likely in individuals without the sleep disorder and in the population” explained the authors.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes reduced oxygen levels during sleep because the sleeper stops breathing. During sleep the soft tissues of the mouth and throat relax and collapse, blocking the airway and stopping breathing. When the brain registers the drop in oxygen levels in the body it briefly wakens the sleeper, who gasps for air, to begin breathing again. The sleeper does not remember these brief wakings and does not understand why they feel so exhausted each morning.
Oral appliance therapy keeps the airway open during sleep without the masks and hoses associated with CPAP. Find out more about sleep apnea and oral appliance therapy by contacting Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule a consultation.
By Mark Levy | June 4, 2013
Driving while drowsy can impair driving performance as much as alcohol studies have shown. Analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash data estimates drowsy driving is a factor in nearly one in six fatal crashes. The AAA Foundation recently published a study showing that two out of five drivers surveyed (41 percent) admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point. Many recent tragedies involving bus or truck accidents have been found to involve drowsy driving
The American Thoracic Society just released new clinical practice guidelines on sleep apnea, sleepiness and driving risk for non-commercial drivers. Commercial drivers, those who drive for a living, usually are required to undergo screening by their employers. The new guidelines for physicians include:
- All patients being evaluated for suspected or confirmed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) should be asked about daytime sleepiness and recent motor vehicle crashes or near-misses. These patients should be considered high-risk drivers and warned about the potential risks of driving until an effective therapy for their apnea is found.
- Patients who are suspected of having OSA should have a sleep study and treatment begun as soon as possible rather than waiting until it is convenient.
- For patients with suspected or confirmed OSA who are high risk drivers should not be given stimulant medications for the sole purpose of reducing driving risk.
- Doctors should develop a plan to inform patients and their families about the risks of drowsy driving and other risks of excessive sleepiness.
The guidelines suggest CPAP therapy for all patients. While CPAP is the gold standard treatment for obstructive sleep apnea about half of patients either can’t tolerate CPAP at all or they only use the device part of the time. Reasons for not tolerating CPAP vary but common ones include: feeling claustrophobic, recurrent eye infections, masks that don’t fit, rashes or sore throats.
Oral appliance therapy is a proven alternative to CPAP and most patients find sleeping with an oral appliance is no problem. There are no masks, hoses or machines to clean and disinfect. A small mouthpiece works with the body to place the jaw in a position that keeps the airway open during sleep. Comfortable, easy to care for and easy to travel with, oral appliances are quickly becoming the treatment of choice for many OSA patients.
Find out more by contacting Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.
By Mark Levy | May 31, 2013
New research might make some men search for sounder sleep – a study showed that men with disturbed or poor sleep have a reduced sperm count compared to men who reported restful sleep.
This study, the first of its kind, was completed in Denmark and looked at almost 1,000 young men. The men answered a questionnaire about their sleep habits and disturbances and underwent physical examination. The researchers found that the men who reported high levels of sleep disturbances had a lower sperm count and a lower number of morphologically normal sperm. Future studies will attempt to discover whether treating the sleeping problems resolves the physical issues.
Sleep hygiene is an important part of getting a good night’s sleep. Before sleep you should avoid alcohol or caffeine, put down electronic devices (the blue light emitted from screens has been shown to affect sleep quality), and avoid exercising late in the evening. The bedroom should be kept cool and dark.
Disrupted sleep and sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea have been linked to large numbers of health problems. Screening for obstructive sleep apnea and treatment for snoring and sleep apnea is available by contacting Columbus, sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | May 31, 2013
Do you have asthma? You may be at higher risk for developing sleep apnea.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin used data from the Wisconsin sleep cohort study (this is a group of about 1500 people who have been followed by researchers since 1988). They found that patients who had asthma were 1.7 times more likely to develop sleep apnea. The connection between asthma and sleep apnea was even stronger if the asthma was developed as a child. These patients were almost a two and a half times more likely to develop sleep apnea.
The researchers also discovered that the longer patients had asthma also affected their chances of developing sleep apnea. For every five years of asthma the chances of developing sleep apnea increased by 10%.
The vast majority of sleep apnea sufferers do not realize they have the disorder and have not been diagnosed. If you snore loudly, are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma you should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea. A common sign of sleep apnea is feeling extreme daytime sleepiness. If you nod off during movies, watching TV or even at stop lights you should seek testing for obstructive sleep apnea immediately. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, mood disorders and certain cancers.
Please contact Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to discuss testing for sleep apnea and to discover whether oral appliance therapy is the right treatment for you.
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.