Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sleep Apnea in Children

While sleep apnea is generally associated with overweight, adult males, sleep apnea can occur in children as well. Millions of children have sleep apnea and the symptoms are often times different than the symptoms of sleep apnea in adults.

Children are being defined in this post as a child who has yet to go through puberty. Once a child reaches puberty, sleep apnea symptoms begin to mirror the symptoms of sleep apnea in adults. Some of the symptoms for children with sleep apnea are the following:

Overly large tonsils
Sleeping in strange positions
Sleeping restlessly

Children with pre-existing health conditions may also have a higher risk of sleep apnea. Some of these conditions include:

Cerebral palsy
Down's syndrome
Muscular dystrophy

The cure of sleep apnea in children is also different than that for adults. Since most children who develop sleep apnea have large tonsils, a tonsillectomy is usually recommended to cure sleep apnea in children. This clears the breathing airway for children and usually results in a child who is sleep apnea free. A child's adenoids may also be removed to help clear the airway in addition to performing a tonsillectomy.

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your child or your child falls into any of the above risk groups, make sure you see a doctor about the potential of sleep apnea in your child.

If you are in the Gurnee, IL area and your child suffers from sleep apnea, please contact sleep dentist Dr. Ira Shapira today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Polysomnogram: What's That?

Big words like polysomnogram are intimidating but are really quite simple when you know what they mean. A polysomnogram is an overnight sleep study that is administered to test for various different sleep disorders. It is a common procedure that is used to diagnose sleep apnea.

More specifically, a polysomnogram monitors the biophysiological changes your body undergoes during sleep. This includes, but isn't limited to:

  • Brain waves
  • Heart activity
  • Breathing
  • Eye activity
  • Leg movements

This comprehensive list of bodily activities is closely monitored in order to paint a complete picture as to what your body experiences when you are asleep. An abnormality in any of these activities can combine to contribute to various sleep disorders, including sleep apnea.

A polysomnogram is usually performed at a hospital or a sleep center. You will go to the sleep center or hospital at night and your sleep will be monitored during your normal bed time. A series of sensors and wires will gently be placed on your skin while you sleep to monitor your body's activity during your slumber. A doctor will come in to reattach sensors if they become dislodged during sleep. The sensors will also have to be removed if you need to go to the bathroom during the middle of the night.

After your sleep study, Dr. Shapira will analyze the results and will determine what variety of sleep disorder that you may have. It can take up to two weeks for you to receive the results of your sleep study.

If Dr. Shapira determines that you have sleep apnea, it is important to get started on a treatment plan as soon as possible. Sleep apnea is a very serious medical condition.

If you suffer from sleep apnea and live in the Gurnee, IL area, please contact sleep dentist Dr. Ira Shapira today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some Questions and Answers about Sleep Apnea

Many of you may have heard of sleep apnea or the acronym OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) but may be a bit confused as to what this medical condition actually is; many people have no idea how dangerous it is.

Simply put, sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder characterized by interrupted sleep. Some people who suffer with sleep apnea may actually stop breathing hundreds of times a night for several seconds each time. Sleep apnea can result in serious symptoms and conditions including but not limited to:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Heart problems
  • Stroke
  • Headaches
  • Intellectual deterioration
  • High blood pressure
  • Impotence
  • Decreased libido
  • Choking
Because sleep apnea deprives sufferers from sound and sufficient amounts of sleep, operating motor vehicles and machinery during the day can be very dangerous. Sleep apnea in children can lead to underachievement in school and poor intellectual development.

If you snore or your partner stops breathing during the night, please contact sleep apnea specialist, Dr. Ira Shapira, in Gurnee, Illinois.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

OSA 101

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a very common, but serious, medical condition that affects millions of Americans. OSA is characterized by intermittent periods of breathing cessation while you sleep. Some sleep apneics stop breathing up to several hundred times a night. Snoring is often associated with sleep apnea. Apnea actually comes from the Greek and means “without breath.”

OSA is caused by a blockage of your airway; the blockage typically occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses and closes while you sleep. In another type of sleep apena, central sleep apnea (CSA), the airway is not fully blocked but the brain fails to signal your muscles to breathe. There is also mixed sleep apnea, which, as its name implies, is a combination of OSA and CSA. It is estimated that 12 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea. Like many diseases and conditions, family members are affected by the condition; in this case, your partner will certainly be affected by your interrupted sleep and may even hear you gasping for air in the middle of the night. This can be quite scary because it sounds like you’re suffocating.

Some of the risk factors for sleep apnea are:

• Being male
• Being overweight
• Being over the age of forty

However, sleep apnea can affect females, those who are not overweight and can even affect children. Many cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed and, therefore, also go untreated. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a whole host of medical problems including these signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Concentration problems
  • Memory problems

As you can see by this only partial list of medical problems associated with sleep apnea, it cannot be ignored. Sleep apnea specialists such as Gurnee, Illinois dentist, Dr. Ira Shapira, can evaluate your case thoroughly and then recommend a treatment plan that is best suited for your individual case.

Please contact Dr. Shapira’s Snoring & Sleep Apnea Treatment Center today to schedule your initial appointment to be evaluated for OSA.