Monday, October 31, 2011

Sleep Apnea and a Mediterranean Diet

A widely reported recent study suggests that eating a Mediterranean diet along with engaging in regular physical activity can help relieve some symptoms of sleep apnea.

The study’s findings were published recently in the European Respiratory Journal and indicated that sleep apnea patients who followed a Mediterranean diet experienced fewer breathing interruptions during rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, a stage of deep sleep that typically accounts for about one-quarter of total sleeping time. But just what does a Mediterranean diet entail?

A Mediterranean diet includes staples of meals originating in Mediterranean nations such as Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain. Mediterranean dishes often feature fresh ingredients over processed foods and include more vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains, and less red meat.

Ingredients commonly used in a Mediterranean diet include:

  • Broccoli
  • Chickpeas
  • Eggplant
  • Fish
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Peppers
  • Red wine (in moderation, of course)
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

A Mediterranean diet also favors organic flavorings over artificial ones. This includes the use of fresh basil, oregano, lemon, rosemary and garlic, among others.

In addition to seeming to reduce some sleep apnea symptoms, a Mediterranean diet has other health benefits as well. Foods in the Mediterranean diet tend to be low in saturated fat and high in flavonoids and antioxidants, which are thought to help prevent cancer.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment options, please contact a dentist who specializes in sleep disorders near you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Study Finds High Rate of Sleep Apnea Among Veterans with PTSD, Brain Injuries

Sleep disorders—including sleep apnea—are common among American veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a recent study conducted at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.

Research focused on 317 soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries or both. The study found that nearly half of the soldiers reported insomnia and more than half suffered from sleep apnea.

Researchers followed 135 soldiers with PTSD, 116 veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and 66 soldiers with both conditions. According to the study, the findings of which were reported at the recent annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, 56 percent of the soldiers suffered from obstructive sleep apnea, while 49 percent experienced insomnia.

Meanwhile, 71 percent of the war veterans who participated in the research experienced fragmented nighttime sleep, and 87 percent were hypersomniac, or drowsy during waking hours.

Sleep apnea was more common in soldiers with PTSD than in those who suffered brain injuries. Seventy-eight percent of soldiers with PTSD were diagnosed with sleep apnea.

If sleep apnea treatment is not pursued, the condition can lead to progressive and potentially fatal health problems.

To learn more about sleep apnea and sleep apnea treatment, please contact a dentist near you who specializes in sleep disorder treatment.

Resistant Hypertension? New Article in Hypertension Identifies Sleep Apnea As The Most Common Secondary Cause Of Resistant Hypertension

Treatment of Sleep Apnea is extremely important with hypertension. Effective treatment with oral appliances or CPAP is extremely important in patients with resistant hypertension. The abstract can be found below.

Treatment of Sleep Apnea is essential. If you or your loved one are one of the 60% of patients who do not tolerate CPAP call today to schedule an appointment for a comfortable oral appliance.

Hypertension. 2011 Nov;58(5):811-7. Epub 2011 Oct 3.
Obstructive sleep apnea: the most common secondary cause of hypertension associated with resistant hypertension.
Pedrosa RP, Drager LF, Gonzaga CC, Sousa MG, de Paula LK, Amaro AC, Amodeo C, Bortolotto LA, Krieger EM, Bradley TD, Lorenzi-Filho G.
Sleep Laboratory, Pulmonary Division, Heart Institute, Av Enéas Carvalho de Aguiar 44, São Paulo, Brazil.
Recognition and treatment of secondary causes of hypertension among patients with resistant hypertension may help to control blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular risk. However, there are no studies systematically evaluating secondary causes of hypertension according to the Seventh Joint National Committee. Consecutive patients with resistant hypertension were investigated for known causes of hypertension irrespective of symptoms and signs, including aortic coarctation, Cushing syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, drugs, pheochromocytoma, primary aldosteronism, renal parenchymal disease, renovascular hypertension, and thyroid disorders. Among 125 patients (age: 52±1 years, 43% males, systolic and diastolic blood pressure: 176±31 and 107±19 mm Hg, respectively), obstructive sleep apnea (apnea-hypopnea index: >15 events per hour) was the most common condition associated with resistant hypertension (64.0%), followed by primary aldosteronism (5.6%), renal artery stenosis (2.4%), renal parenchymal disease (1.6%), oral contraceptives (1.6%), and thyroid disorders (0.8%). In 34.4%, no secondary cause of hypertension was identified (primary hypertension). Two concomitant secondary causes of hypertension were found in 6.4% of patients. Age >50 years (odds ratio: 5.2 [95% CI: 1.9-14.2]; P<0.01), neck circumference ≥41 cm for women and ≥43 cm for men (odds ratio: 4.7 [95% CI: 1.3-16.9]; P=0.02), and presence of snoring (odds ratio: 3.7 [95% CI: 1.3-11]; P=0.02) were predictors of obstructive sleep apnea. In conclusion, obstructive sleep apnea appears to be the most common condition associated with resistant hypertension. Age >50 years, large neck circumference measurement, and snoring are good predictors of obstructive sleep apnea in this populati
Can J Cardiol. 2011 May-Jun;27(3):319-38.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Former NFL Players Score Touchdown for Sleep Apnea Awareness

Sleep apnea awareness has been on something of a winning streak lately, thanks in part to a number of former National Football League (NFL) players discussing their battles with the dangerous affliction.

Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell recently disclosed how the symptoms of sleep apnea caused him to nod off in team meetings and lose focus on the football field. Meanwhile, two former San Diego Chargers players—offensive lineman Aaron Taylor and kicker Rolf Benirschke—are collaborating on a sleep apnea patient support program.

Sleep apnea, of course, is not limited to football players and other athletes. Tens of millions of Americans suffer from this sleep disorder, which can lead to potentially fatal health complications.

In fact, NFL Hall of Fame defensive lineman Reggie White suffered from sleep apnea and died in 2004 from cardiac arrhythmia, one of the most common risks of untreated sleep apnea. After White’s death, his wife cofounded the Reggie White Sleep Disorders & Education Foundation to raise awareness about sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

To learn more about sleep apnea and sleep apnea treatment options, please contact a doctor near you who specializes in sleep disorder treatment.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Alternative Sleep Apnea Treatments to CPAP

Continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) devices are effective in treating sleep apnea in both children and adults. If the patients actually wear the masks.

CPAP entails the use of a small machine that circulates a continuous stream of air through a tube connected to a mask you wear while you sleep. The airflow prevents the tissues in your throat from collapsing and allows uninterrupted breathing.

Unfortunately, studies have revealed that patients’ long-term compliance with CPAP treatment is low. Most research regarding CPAP use indicates that about one-quarter to one-third of sleep apnea patients who try CPAP stop using the device.

Because the dangers of sleep apnea are potentially fatal and include increased risk for heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure, it’s important for those who are unable to adjust to the CPAP device to seek alternative treatment.

Oral appliances, which are similar to mouthguards, are often successful in treating sleep apnea patients who find they can’t wear the CPAP mask. There are a number of sleep apnea oral appliances available, and finding the right treatment option for your individual condition can be determined during a consultation with a dentist experienced in sleep apnea treatment.

To learn more about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, please contact a dentist who specializes in sleep disorders near you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SomnoDent Medicare Approved

This year, Medicare began funding the use of oral appliance therapy for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, dependent on approval. Now, the country's most popular oral appliance has been approved for coverage.

In order to be covered, an oral appliance must meet certain characteristics, including:

  • Be used for reducing upper airway collapsibility.
  • Having a hinged or jointed mechanism
  • Be customized
  • Be capable of adjustment in increments of one millimeter
  • Must retain adjustment

After review, the Pricing, Data Analysis, and Coding (PDAC) Medicare Contractor and each of the four Durable Medicare Equipment Medicare Administrative Contractors have determined that the appropriate billing code for the device is E0486, a covered treatment code. This includes the SomnoDent Classic, the SomnoDent Flex, and the SomnoDent Edentulous.

We are happy that oral appliance therapy has finally been recognized for its successful and comfortable treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

If you would like to learn more about the coverage and billing of oral appliance therapy, please contact a local sleep dentist today.