Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snoring and Sleep Apnea Increase Energy Consumption

In attempting to discover the link between sleep apnea and obesity, researchers (primarily in California) looked at adults with symptoms of sleep apnea and evaluated their resting energy expenditures (REE). To determine the amount of energy consumption, indirect calorimetry was used to measure REE for the patients. REE is the number of calories expended over a 24-hour period during a non-active period. Researchers found that REE was positively correlated with the severity of sleep apnea. The more severe a person's sleep apnea, the more calories they burned during sleeping.

How many more calories did sleep apnea sufferers burn? The disparity between the high level and the low level was 373 calories per night. However, this should not be taken as a recommendation that sufferers should avoid treatment for their sleep apnea in the hope of losing weight. As we have already seen, sleep apnea leads to a poor diet, and the amount of additional energy consumption is roughly equal to the amount of additional calories consumed in fat and protein alone. And it doesn't help dissipate the additional cholesterol consumed. And the dangers of sleep apnea, such as high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke and heart attack, mean leaving the condition untreated is a dangerous thing.

To learn more about the dangers of sleep apnea, schedule a sleep apnea consultation at the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Loud Snoring Independently Correlated with Daytime Sleepiness

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, snoring may be an independent factor for daytime sleepiness in sleep apnea sufferers. The study was conducted by a retrospective statistical analysis of patients who underwent polysomnography for diagnosis of sleep apnea, and it considered many different possible correlations. What researchers found was surprising.

The highest recorded volume of snoring in the subjects was strongly and independently correlated with daytime sleepiness--commonly considered as a symptom of sleep apnea--as measured by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) in apneic patients, but not in other patients. Interpreting these results is difficult, but researchers concluded that snoring intensity may explain daytime sleepiness that cannot be fully explained by variables measured by polysomnography.

The mechanism is very difficult to imagine, but since the ESS is a subjective measure, perhaps there is a deeper, more cognitive effect of snoring on the quality of sleep. We know that snoring disturbs cosleepers, but perhaps it also disturbs the sleeper himself in a way we cannot appreciate.

Although the study only correlated the effect of snoring for apneics, it is possible that all snorers suffer diminished quality of sleep. To learn more about the benefits of snoring treatment, schedule a snoring consultation at the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center in Gurnee, Illinois.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Repeatability of Sleep Apnea Tests

Growing evidence that sleep apnea dangers are severe and the number of people suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea have contributed to the large number of people seeking diagnosis of sleep apnea. However, the limited number of sleep centers offering polysomnography means long waiting lists, which means more time for people to suffer the potentially deadly consequences of sleep apnea. The development of at-home portable sleep recorders, which allow patients to test themselves in the comfort of their homes, offers the potential for more people to be positively diagnosed and hopefully receive treatment for sleep apnea sooner. But are in-home tests reliable?

A recent study published in the International Archives of Medicine showed that not only are the tests reliable, but they may be more reliable than in-lab assessments. The researchers took a small sample size of patients and gave them four tests--two in-lab and two at-home--over a period of six months and compared the results. Polysomnography results were taken and sent to three different accredited sleep laboratories for interpretation while the at-home tests were collected by the patients and scored according to standardized algorithms. According to the researchers, the in-lab tests showed a high degree of variability from test to test when compared to the at-home tests. Whereas at-home tests showed essentially no variability, the second polysomnography seemed biased toward greater apnea-hypopnea and apnea indices.

Although the study, with its small sample size, does not say whether one test is more accurate than the other, it does urge doctors using polysomnography to measure severity of sleep apnea to be aware of the possible bias of the test.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can help. Schedule a sleep apnea consultation at the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Center in Gurnee, Illinois today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Treating Sleep Apnea Helps Alzheimer's Patients

Because impaired cognition is a symptom of sleep apnea, it makes sense that Alzheimer's patients who suffer from sleep apnea are likely to see cognitive improvement if treated for their apnea. A recent study by researchers at the University of California confirmed the effect. Researchers also recommended sleep apnea treatment as a way to improve the independence of Alzheimer's patients.

Although the study was small, with only 52 subjects, and it was unable to demonstrate statistically significant results when the subjects were initially divided into treatment and control groups, the results are potentially very important. Patients being treated saw improvement in verbal learning, memory, cognitive flexibility, and mental processing speed.

It is estimated that as much as 70 to 80 percent of dementia sufferers have sleep apnea. Researchers explained, "Although it is unlikely that OSA [obstructive sleep apnea] causes dementia, the lowered oxygen levels and sleep fragmentation associated with OSA might worsen cognitive function." It has also been shown that elderly patients with dementia suffered more severe symptoms, including more frequent awakenings, than patients without dementia.

When these researchers refer to sleep apnea treatment, they mean CPAP, but it is possible that oral appliance therapy may also be effective, and may be better tolerated.

This study confirms that no matter what the condition, it is most likely worsened by sleep apnea. If you are a sleep apnea sufferer, beginning treatment is one of the best things you can do for your long-term health. To learn more, schedule a sleep apnea consultation at the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Center in Gurnee, Illinois.