Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cardiologists embrace oral appliances as an alternative treatment to CPAP for sleep apnea

Cardiologists have long recognized that sleep apnea is a leading cause of hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attacks and strokes. Cardiologists have referred patients for sleep studies and CPAP therapy for years. Cardiologists have become disillusioned by the poor compliance with CPAP that has been documented in patients with sleep apnea. The majority of patients with mild apnea as well as moderate and severe sleep apnea reject CPAP in large numbers. A recent study showed 60% of patients abandon CPAP therapy.

Cardiologists who are proponents of sleep apnea treatment are referring more and more patients for oral appliance therapy as an alternative to CPAP. They recognize that CPAP therapy is worthless if it is not used. Oral appliances are considered a first line treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy is also an alternative to CPAP for severe sleep apnea when patients do not toleratte CPAP.

THE MAJORITY OF PATIENTS DO NOT TOLERATE CPAP!!! MEDICARE IS NO LONGER COVERING CPAP THERAPY FOR PATIENTS WHO DO NOT USE CPAP ON A REGULAR BASIS. MOST PATIENTS DO NOT USE CPAP ON A REGULAR BASIS.

Cardiologists are more comfortable referring patients for CPAP but have come to realize that patients are much more compliant with oral applainces than CPAP.

This means that patients use their oral appliances to treat their sleep apnea. Cardiologists know this is vital to their patients health. While CPAP may be more effective for some patients it is a total treatment failure for those patients who do not use their CPAP.

In addition to heart attacks and stroke untreated sleep apnea can also cause short term memory loss, lead to drammatic increases n motor vehicle accidents because patients with untreated sleep apnea have slower reaction times than patients who are legally intoxicated. Untreated sleep apnea can increase severity and speed of onset of Alzheimer's and Dementia, is implicated in up to 80% of ADD and ADHD in children, can increase the severity of metabolic problems from diabetes to obesity.

The National Sleep Foundation has declared that oral appliances are a therapy whose time has come!

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine considers oral appliances to be a first line treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine has published reports on the success of treating severe sleep apnea with comfortable oral appliances.

MORBIDLY OBESE PATIENTS SHOULD STILL CONSIDER CPAP AS THE TREATMENT OF CHOICE. A RECENT STUDY SHOWED THAT PROPERLY TITRATED ORAL APPLIANCES ARE EQUALLY EFFECTIVE TO CPAP FOR SLEEP APNEA PATIENTS.

THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS ENDORSED ORAL APPLIANCES FOR TREATING SLEEP APNEA BY ACCEPTING DENTAL SLEEP MEDICINE FOR COVERAGE UNDER MEDICARE.

THE NEW MEDICARE POLICY ALSO RECOGNIZES THE DISMAL COMPLIANCE RATES OF CPAP WITH NEW MINIMAL USAGE REQUIREMENT FOR CPAP COVERAGE. THIS NEW POLICY WILL BENEFIT EVERYONE AS MANUFACTURERS AND DME'S WORK TO INCREASE COMPLIANCE WITH CPAP.

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posted by Dr Shapira at 8:39 PM