Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Wireless Network for Monitoring Sleep Apnea

Researchers at the University of Utah have announced that they have developed a wireless network that can monitor sleep apnea and other sleep breathing disorders without placing sensors on the patient. The technology, named BreathTaking, uses a network of 20 wireless transceivers that are placed around a hospital bed. This system reliably detected the breathing of the subject and accurately estimated the breathing rate to within 0.4 breathes per minute based on only 30 seconds of data.

The network detects the sound of a patient's breathing and collates data on the strength of the sound from all the different sensors, allowing the breathing of a patient to be tracked no matter where the patient is in the bed. On the positive side, the system allows for the tracking of patient breathing without attaching sensors to the patient, which itself can be disruptive of sleep or even dangerous. One potential use of the system proposed by inventors is for SIDS monitoring--it could identify immediately when a baby stopped breathing without the need for placing sensors on the baby.

Researchers say that it will likely take at least five years before the product is market-ready, but once available it can be used to noninvasively track apneic events in patients and evaluate the success of various sleep apnea treatments, such as oral sleep appliances.

To learn more about the most recent advancements in sleep apnea treatment that allows you to have comfortable relief from this life-threatening condition, please contact a local sleep dentist.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Woman Wages War against Truckers' Sleep Apnea

A New Braunfels, Texas woman, Wanda Lindsay, has begun a crusade against sleep apnea in truckers. She lost her husband John when a semi truck slammed into the back of their stopped car in a construction zone. The truck was traveling over 65 miles an hour and had its cruise control on. It did not apply its brakes prior to the accident. The truck driver claims he had glanced away from the road and looked back to see the stopped car, but without enough time to stop. The widow thinks the truth is different from his official story.

The truck driver had been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea weeks before the accident, but had not received any treatment. Sleep apnea puts drivers at an increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel and being involved in just the type of accident that killed John Lindsay.

The trucking company, Celadon, claims it had never seen those test results, or else the driver would not have been on the road that day. The question is, why hadn't it seen those results?

Nearly a third of truckers and other commercial drivers suffer from sleep apnea, and when these vehicles are involved in a deadly accident, it is someone other than the trucker that dies, nearly nine times out of ten. Truck drivers need to be tested for sleep apnea and those results need to be made known to their companies. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has urged mandatory testing of truck drivers and other commercial drivers and pilots since 2009, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has spent years considering the issue but has not yet issued any rules.

If you want to help get truckers with sleep apnea off the road, you can visit the website of the John Lindsay Foundation to contribute to the cause.

If you fear you may be suffering from sleep apnea, if you have the symptoms of sleep apnea, you should be tested. And if you are looking to learn more about all your sleep apnea treatment options, please contact a local sleep dentist today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lack of Sleep Impacts Sex Life

A new study has compiled previous research to emphasize again that poor or fragmented sleep can negatively impact testosterone levels in both men and women. Testosterone is an important hormone for regulating sexual desire in both sexes. Typically, testosterone levels rise overnight, then decrease during the day. Research has shown that the periods of accumulation of the hormone correspond with REM sleep, the very sleep you miss out on if you are suffering from sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea.

A 2010 study focusing on surgical treatment of chronic sinus infections showed that the number of people reporting sexual dysfunction decreased significantly and the level of sexual activity increased significantly when people had surgical treatment of their sinusitis. This increase also went along with improved sleep patterns.

Sexual function and sexual activity are important parts of maintaining a high quality of life. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, they may be negatively impacted. Treatment can significantly improve them.

To learn more about how obstructive sleep apnea treatment can improve your quality of life, please contact a local sleep dentist today.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

EncoreTM System for Sleep Apnea Treatment Approved

Siesta Medical, Inc. announced September 12 that it had achieved 510(k) clearance for its EncoreTM System. The Encore System is a tongue suspension treatment designed to improve obstructive sleep apnea. According to Siesta Medical, the tongue is implicated in up to 80 percent of obstructive sleep apnea cases, but most sleep apnea surgical treatments do not address the tongue, which is one of the reasons why sleep apnea surgery is not very popular.

The Encore System received 510(k) approval because it was considered to be substantially equivalent to the manufacturer's previous device the Prelude III, which was approved because it was substantially equivalent to the Prelude II, which was approved because it was substantially equivalent to the Prelude. It seems like the first tongue suspension system approved was the Sleep-InTM or Repose bone screw system, approved for treatment of sleep apnea or snoring in 1997. This device also received 510(k) approval because it was deemed to be substantially equivalent to oral appliances used for jaw and tongue advancement.

If you are curious about how the system works, the manufacturer has provided the following informative video:

If you are interested in learning more about your treatment options for sleep apnea, please contact a local sleep dentist today.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sleep Disorders Common, Untreated in Canada

According to a recent survey by researchers at Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec, up to 40% of Canadians may suffer from sleep disorders, like insomnia or sleep apnea. According to the survey of 2000 people from across Canada, 40% suffered from symptoms of sleep apnea or insomnia. However, only 20% of those surveyed were unsatisfied with the quality of their sleep, and an even smaller number, 13%, had actually seen a doctor about sleep problems.

Another problem is that when people do attempt to improve their sleep, they go about it in ways that may actually hurt their sleep. The survey found that 21% of respondents had used natural products, over-the-counter drugs, or even alcohol in an attempt to treat their sleep problems. Unfortunately, when used without guidance, these products may actually do more harm than good. Natural products and many over-the-counter drugs have not been tested and may have serious side effects. Alcohol has been shown to increase the incidence of obstructive sleep apnea, and over-the-counter sleep medications may do so as well.

Whether you live in the US or Canada, if you are suffering from the symptoms of sleep apnea, you need to get treatment to ensure you avoid the serious dangers of the condition. To learn more about proven, successful sleep apnea treatment, please contact a local sleep dentist today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sleep Tips for Back to School

Summer is over, and for your kids, this means they have to stop staying up all night and have to get to sleep so they can wake up for school in the morning. Unfortunately, this can be a hard thing for kids to do. If your kids are having trouble getting to bed or to sleep on time, you have to step in. Here are a few tips:

  • Turn off cell phones, computers, and the TV about an hour before bedtime. This is for you as well as your kids. Laptop use in bed has been implicated as a major recent factor in sleep disorders.
  • Create a bedtime routine, and go through it with your children.
  • No caffeine at least 12 hours before bedtime. This includes chocolate, whose caffeine content can have a big impact on kids' ability to get to sleep. Substitute oatmeal cookies instead of chocolate chip.
  • A regular bedtime is a big help for kids getting to sleep. Set a bedtime and stick to it. If your kids are having trouble transitioning between weekdays and weekends, you need to set the same bedtime for every day.
  • Stand up for sleep. Kids often want to stay up for chatting with friends or another story, but you need to set firm limits.
  • Keep your kids' rooms cool at night. This emphasizes to the circadian rhythm system that it it's night and time to sleep.

If you are noticing that you are doing all this, but your child is still showing signs of daytime sleepiness, bad mood, or inability to concentrate, they may actually be suffering from childhood sleep apnea, which is a major health risk and should be treated.

To learn more about treatment solutions for childhood sleep apnea, please contact a local sleep dentist today.