Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brain Mechanism Related to Breathing Muscles Identified; May Provide Clues for Future Sleep Apnea Treatments

The brain mechanism that regulates breathing muscles during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep has been identified, and it may provide clues for developing new treatments for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and other sleep-related respiratory problems.

The research relating to the discovery of the brain mechanism will be published in the upcoming issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, which is the publication of the American Thoracic Society. During REM sleep, you experience inhibited muscle activity, including a near-paralysis of the muscles related to breathing, which can contribute to snoring and other breathing problems during sleep.

Among these problems are the breathing interruptions known as apneas, in which a person’s breathing stops for seconds at a time multiple times per hour. These episodes are the hallmark of OSA, a dangerous sleep disorder that can increase your risk for high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack, among other health concerns.

To determine the brain mechanism responsible for controlling breathing muscles, researchers studied rats through multiple sleep-wake cycles and focused on the brain region that controls the tongue during sleep. The tongue was key, because an active tongue can maintain an open airway while an inhibited tongue can slack during sleep and contribute to the airway blockage that contributes to sleep apnea.

The identification of the brain mechanism and chemicals that play a role in regulating breathing muscle activity may lead to new treatment methods that target the primary source of OSA and other breathing-related sleep disorders.

If you or your partner suffers from loud, chronic snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, a dentist with experience in the field of dental sleep medicine can help you determine the source of the condition and recommend an individualized treatment plan, such as the use of a custom-made oral appliance.

Please contact IHateCPAP.com to locate a qualified sleep dentist near you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Losing Weight, Belly Fat Can Improve Sleep, May Reduce Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The link between being overweight and an increased risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have long been known, but a recent study indicates that losing weight—particularly belly fat—can help you sleep better and may even reduce instances of apnea in those with OSA.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine recently studied 77 overweight volunteers, many of whom suffered sleep disorders including sleep apnea. The volunteers were split into two groups, one of which engaged in a weight-loss plan that included dietary changes and supervised exercise while the other group followed only the diet.

Overall, the participants from both groups lost an average of 15 pounds over six months and reduced belly fat by 15 percent. According to the study, the findings of which were presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, belly fat reduction was the best predictor of improved sleep, and patients with OSA reported fewer instances of interrupted breathing during sleep.

Although the study did not determine why reducing belly fat seems to be a key to improved sleep, the particular type of fat that accumulates around the abdomen—which is also known as visceral fat—has been linked to an increased risk for OSA, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems. Sleep apnea, in turn, can increase a person’s risk for conditions including high blood pressure and stroke.

If you or your partner suffers from loud, chronic snoring or other symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s important to undergo an evaluation as soon as possible. Although OSA is a potentially life-threatening condition, there are also a number of effective treatment options available through the field of dental sleep medicine.

Please contact IHateCPAP.com to learn more about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, and to locate a qualified sleep dentist near you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ingredients in Weight-Loss Drug May Aid in Sleep Apnea Treatment

The pharmaceutical company Vivus recently reported that clinical study data related to its weight-loss drug Qsymia indicates the medication may also help treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially deadly condition that affects tens of millions of Americans.

Qsymia received approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July for the treatment of obesity. However, the findings of a recent study, which were published in the journal Sleep, demonstrate that two active ingredients in Qsymia—phentermine and topiramate—may also aid in the treatment of OSA.

The study was funded by Vivus, which is also conducting ongoing studies as it pursues approval for the potential use of Qsymia in OSA and diabetes treatment, and focused on 45 obese adults with OSA who were not undergoing continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. The study found that patients who received phentermine and topiramate experienced fewer breathing interruptions and lower blood pressure during sleep.

There are currently no FDA-approved medications for sleep apnea treatment. If you or your partner suffers from loud, chronic snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, a qualified sleep dentist can assess your condition, determine whether you need further testing, and devise a customized sleep apnea treatment plan for you.

In addition to CPAP, the field of dental sleep medicine offers a number of treatment options, including oral appliances.

Please contact IHateCPAP.com to locate an experienced sleep dentist near you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Just Didgeridoo It; Instrument May Aid in Sleep Apnea Treatment

When it comes to sleep apnea treatment, many people find success using multiple options, such as a combination of oral appliance and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device.

However, one Minneapolis man is trying an unusual blend of methods to treat his obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially life-threatening condition that affects approximately 20 million Americans. According to an article in the Star Tribune, he is battling his OSA with the use of a custom-made oral appliance and a didgeridoo.

Employing the didgeridoo to treat sleep apnea has been something of a fringe trend since 2006, when a Swiss study indicated that playing the Aboriginal Australian instrument decreased nighttime snoring and daytime drowsiness. The study suggested that playing the didgeridoo regularly strengthened muscles in the back of the throat, where tissue collapse during sleep can block the air passage and contribute to OSA.

The sporadically documented cases of patients who have tried it imply that it may be effective for those who have mild to moderate cases of OSA, especially when used in conjunction with another treatment, such as oral appliances similar to sports mouthguards.

Of course, while learning a musical instrument is encouraged, it’s also encouraged to seek medical advice if you believe you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea before signing up for didgeridoo lessons alone. A dentist who is experienced in sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment can assess your individual condition and recommend a custom treatment plan.

Please contact IHateCPAP.com to locate a qualified sleep dentist near you.