Monday, May 21, 2012

New Studies Link Sleep Apnea to Increased Cancer Risk

Sleep apnea has already been linked to severe health problems including stroke, heart attack, hypertension and high blood pressure. Now, two recent studies indicate that people with sleep apnea also face an increased risk for cancer.

In one study, Spanish researchers focused on thousands of sleep clinic patients and found that those with severe forms of sleep apnea—including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)—faced a 65 percent greater risk of developing cancer. The second study, which followed nearly 1,500 government employees in Wisconsin, demonstrated that those who experienced the most apnea breathing episodes at night had a five-times greater risk of dying from cancer than those without a sleep disorder.

Although both studies analyzed only cancer diagnoses and subsequent results, the association is yet another reason to seek treatment if you suffer from sleep apnea symptoms.

The field of dental sleep medicine provides a number of comfortable, effective treatment options including custom-made oral appliances that don’t require the use of cumbersome continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. A qualified sleep dentist can diagnose your sleep apnea symptoms and recommend the best treatment for your individual condition.

If you or a loved one experiences loud, chronic snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, please contact to locate a sleep dentist near you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dog’s Refusal to Let Sleeping Human Lie Leads to Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Michele Gilks and her family are probably thankful that canines don’t adhere to an equivalent of the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie.”

Michele was suffering from then-undiagnosed sleep apnea when she and her family adopted Bree, a 2-year-old Dachshund, in 2010. Soon after welcoming Bree into their home, Michele and her husband would periodically wake to find Bree licking Michele’s face and sticking her snout into Michele’s mouth.

Although both Michele and Bree experienced daytime drowsiness, the Gilks family attributed this sleep apnea symptom to Bree’s bizarre nighttime behavior. A veterinarian assured the family that Bree was otherwise in good health.

Bree’s antics peaked one night in September 2011, when the dog began frantically digging next to an unconscious Michele and standing on Michele’s chest. Michele finally awoke, gasping for air, as her husband called for an ambulance.

Michele was placed on oxygen and rushed to the emergency room due to high blood pressure and a rapid heart rate. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially fatal condition in which an airway obstruction causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep.

The Gilks family believes Bree detected changes in Michele’s breathing, sensed when Michele’s breathing stopped and attempted to wake Michele up, thus saving Michele’s life. For her dedication to her human companion, Bree was recently named to Purina’s Animal Hall of Fame in Canada.

Each year, the Purina Animal Hall of Fame honors animals for acts of heroism or bravery that save human lives. Since 1968, 155 animals—128 dogs, 26 cats and one horse—have been inducted.

And since Michele began sleep apnea treatment, both she and Bree are reportedly sleeping peacefully.

If you experience chronic snoring or other symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact to locate a qualified sleep dentist near you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Millions of Americans Suffer from Sleep Apnea without Knowing It; Dental Sleep Medicine Offers Effective Treatment Options

Recent weeks have brought an abundance of new studies and awareness efforts focusing on the dangerous health effects of sleep apnea.

Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, particularly the potentially deadly form known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which has been linked to an increased risk for depression, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease among other problems. Yet despite increased awareness of sleep apnea and its hazards, as well as a growing number of effective treatment options, many who suffer from sleep apnea are not even aware they have the condition.

Consider the recent story about an Indiana school bus driver who crashed while transporting more than 30 students. The driver—who was fired the day after the crash—had been a school bus operator for six years without incident.

Using video images from the bus and interviews with students, school officials determined the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The driver acknowledged a recent diagnosis of sleep apnea after suffering daytime sleepiness for more than a year.

Those with sleep apnea can adversely impact others’ lives as well as their own. It is important to acknowledge symptoms of sleep apnea and seek diagnosis and treatment.

Dental sleep medicine is a rapidly growing field, and there are a number of custom-made oral treatment options for sleep apnea that do not require the use of cumbersome continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices.

If you or a loved one suffers from chronic snoring or other symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact to locate a qualified sleep dentist near you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Americans May Lack Sleep, but Dental Sleep Medicine offers Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Americans’ sleep—or lack thereof—has been in the news a lot lately.

Last week, federal health officials said approximately one-third of Americans get too little sleep, which puts themselves and others at risk for accidents and health complications. And an ongoing study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has examined the widespread ramifications of the potentially deadly sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Accompanying the bad news about our sleep habits and the risks of sleep apnea, however, has been an increase in awareness about the hazards of sleep disorders and the number of options available for treatment.

The field of dental sleep medicine has grown in recent years to include a wide range of custom-fit oral appliances designed to treat OSA, the most severe and common form of sleep apnea. As its name indicates, obstructive sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction of the airway that causes frequent stoppages in breathing as you sleep.

The oral devices are designed to provide stability and proper alignment of the jaw as you sleep, helping maintain an open airway. There are numerous models of oral appliances, and each is custom designed to address your specific condition and conform to your mouth for a comfortable fit.

If you suffering from chronic snoring or other symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact to locate a qualified sleep dentist near you.