Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis: X-Rays

Although thorough sleep apnea diagnosis generally involves an overnight stay at the sleep lab, but doctors are always working on new techniques. In this technique, doctors use x-rays to look at the position of the tongue and hyoid bone in suspected apeneiacs to perform diagnosis. Although the test is not currently very effective (allowing for only a 70% diagnosis rate), the hope is that future refinements may make it a substitute for the complete sleep study.

The hyoid bone is located in the neck, the only human bone not attached to any other bone. It is only attached to the muscles of the neck and the tongue muscle. Therefore, when the muscles of the throat relax, the hyoid bone can shift and become one of the main constrictors of the airway passage. By analyzing the position of the hyoid bone, researchers hope to use x-rays as a pre-screening tool to look for sleep apnea.

Since sleep apnea is significantly underdiagnosed, and since the x-rays that might be used are routinely given to teens in preparation for orthodontic treatment with braces, the assessment can be used to direct people to sleep apnea diagnosis at a young age, hopefully allowing them to avoid the dangerous consequences of untreated sleep apnea.

If you suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea, please set up a free initial consultation with the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center, where the latest and best diagnostic tools are used to identify your sleep apnea and design an appropriate course of treatment.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Play Your Didgeridoo, Blue, to Reduce Obstructive Sleep Apnea

According a study published in the British Medical Journal, regular didgeridoo playing can reduce the negative effects of obstructive sleep apnea. In the study, half of a group of patients who complained of snoring and had apnea-hypopnea indices of 15-30 (a shortcut method for a rough diagnosis of sleep apnea) practiced the didgeridoo an average of 25.3 minutes a day, 5.9 days a week for four months. As a result, the people who practiced the didgeridoo had significantly decreased daytime sleepiness and reduced apnea-hypopnea indices. In addition, their sleep partners reported that they had significantly less sleep disturbances.

Researchers believe that the improvement was due to the training of the upper airways which made their airways less susceptible to collapse during sleep.

This study shows one example of the wide range of behavioral therapy options available for sleep apnea treatment. Although it may not be the only answer, for many people with sleep apnea, behavioral therapy can be a big help and lead not only to reduced apnea, but increased overall quality of life.

Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition, made even more dangerous by underdiagnosis. If you snore or have any symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center today for a free initial sleep apnea consultation.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sleep Apnea Increases Risk of Heart Attack, Death

In a study by researchers at Yale University and reported at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in 2007, obstructive sleep apnea was associated with a 30% greater risk of heart attack and/or death over a 4-5 year period. The study followed 1,123 patients who were evaluated for sleep apnea during an overnight sleep study for 4-5 years, and recorded every incidence of heart disease (heart attack, coronary angiography, etc.) or died.

According to researchers, sleep apnea triggers the body's threat response, which distributes blood to the body in preparation for a "fight or flight" response and decreases the blood pumped to the heart. Repeated apneic events every night for years can starve the heart of oxygen, leading to the increased risk of heart failure and death.

Although sleep apnea and heart disease have common risk factors, such as obesity, this study was large enough to take that into account and adjust the findings to reflect the real risk of sleep apnea independent of other known heart disease causes.

If you have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, it may be deadly to wait for treatment. Please contact the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center today for a free initial consultation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Research Confirms Sleep Apnea Sufferers' Increased Accident Risk

The scientific journal Thorax recently published a study showing that people with sleep apnea are twice as likely to be involved in an auto accident as those who enjoy uninterrupted sleep. Researchers from the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the University of British Columbia studied 1600 people, some with and some without apnea. And they found that sleep apnea sufferers tended to be involved in even more serious crashes as well. Sleep apnea sufferers were 3 to 5 times more likely to be involved in a crash that involves personal injury.

Although previous studies have identified the risk of car crashes among sleep apnea sufferers, this is the largest study yet, and the first time that researchers investigated the severity of the crashes. The study also found that the risk of crash was not necessarily correlated with the severity of sleep apnea. Said one researcher, "Even those patients with fairly mild sleep apnea had an increased risk of serious crashes." Even though daytime sleepiness is a common sign of sleep apnea, researchers found that the risk of crashes was not correlated with self-reported sleepiness, leading them to conclude that "patients may not be aware of the potential driving hazards caused by sleep apnea."

As a result of this increased risk, the co-author of the study said, "we feel it is important for people with suspected sleep apnea to be assessed for this common disorder for which there are several effective treatments."

If you have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, contact the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center today for a free initial sleep apnea consultation and avoid risking your life on the road.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Local Dentist To Lecture On Sleep Apnea At "The Big Sleep Show" - May 9-10, 2008-Chicago, IL

Gurnee, IL (April 2008)- Dr. Ira L. Shapira, of Delany Dental Care, will be participating in "The Big Sleep Show," An Alertness & Healthy Sleep Expo being held at the Donald E. Stevens Convention Center, May 9-10, 2008. Because sleep is a vital human need, our productivity, attitude, alertness-our very well being depends on its quality and quantity. An Institute of Medicine report estimates that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from sleep disorders and confirms links to "increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack and stroke." Regrettably, 95% of people with sleep Disorders remain undiagnosed and untreated.

Dr. Shapira has successfully treated hundreds of patients with sleep apnea for over 25 years. Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition in which an individual repeatedly stops breathing while he or she sleeps. Typical solutions for patients with sleep apnea include a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. A CPAP device includes a mask, tubes and a fan that uses air pressure to push the tongue forward and open the throat. Although the industry's gold standard, CPAP is only 23-45% successful due to lack of patient compliance.

Dr. Shapira, a pioneer of oral appliance titration during sleep tests, will be lecturing on the benefits of intra-oral appliances, an alternative to CPAP. He will explain how intra-oral devices eliminate sleep apnea through Titration, which changes the position of the jaw causing mandibular advancement. His exhibit will display intra-oral sleep appliances. associated literature and other related materials.

For more information on Dr. Ira L. Shapira and "The Big Sleep" contact Delany Dental Care at 847-623-5530 or visit

Local Dentist To Lecture On Sleep Apnea At "The Big Sleep Show" –May 9-10, 2008-Chicago, IL