Do you snore?
Do you find you're tired most of the time?
Did you know that these could be signs of a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder called
Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Snoring, waking up more than once per night, feeling unrefreshed after a 'full' night's sleep, grinding your teeth, dry mouth...all of these things can mean more than just a bad night’s sleep – especially if they happen on a regular basis.
For many, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is to blame for these symptoms. With obstructive sleep apnea, your breathing is disrupted while you sleep. The results range from short-term sleepiness to long-term risks for diseases. You’d be surprised how common this condition is – and how it can affect you.
Six Surprising Facts About Sleep Apnea
1. Many people have sleep apnea but don’t know it
Sleep apnea is more common than you think because it often goes undiagnosed (in fact, latest statistics state that 1 out of 6 people have sleep apnea). That’s particularly true for the most common form, obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your airway gets blocked or constricted while you sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, as many as 18 million American adults have sleep apnea. Studies have indicated that approximately 10% of women and 26% of men are affected by sleep apnea and as many as 80% or more of people affected go UNDIAGNOSED.
2. Women (and children) can be just as affected by sleep apnea as men
There is a stereotype of an Obstructive Sleep Apnea patient as an overweight or obese man who snores. While there’s some truth there – obesity is a major risk factor, and it does affect more men in general – the stereotype falls apart with age. Women are just as likely to be affected as men as they reach menopausal age.
The National Sleep Foundation states “Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs in all age groups and in both sexes.”
Children can be affected as well. The Foundation suggests while it is very difficult to estimate childhood OSA, there is a minimum prevalence of 2-3% likely, with prevalence as high as 10-20% in habitually snoring children.
3. It may seem like something else
Sleep apnea is often overlooked because its symptoms are so broad. While there are many common nighttime symptoms like snoring, interruptions in sleep, teeth grinding and more, you may also experience depression, daytime fatigue, dry mouth, trouble concentrating and any number of other symptoms.
4. Obstructive Sleep Apnea can lead to serious medical complications and even death
A high correlation exists between people who have high blood pressure, gastric issues (like acid reflux/GERD) and/or diabetes with the presence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. You might even find that you've had some weight gain and are having a hard time managing your weight. Obstructive Sleep Apnea could be part of the problem. If you have any of these conditions, untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea can make them worse. And, over time, untreated sleep apnea leaves you at an increased risk for developing these conditions and other very serious health conditions like stroke, impotence, glaucoma, cardio vascular diseases - especially heart attacks and more.
Worse still, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the leading cause of nocturnal stroke and can lead to premature death. Untreated OSA may shorten your life expectancy as much as 8 years.
5. You can do something about it
If you have symptoms – or a spouse or partner notices that you repeatedly stop breathing at night – you may need an overnight sleep study. An overnight sleep study is the only way to accurately diagnose sleep apnea.
There are also treatment options. While the preferred method of treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, most people cannot tolerate the machine or refuse to use it. Oral Appliance Therapy is usually the preferred answer for these patients. Still another option is surgery and some would benefit from weight loss.
6. Oral Sleep Appliance Therapy is covered by most MEDICAL insurance plans
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a MEDICAL condition and, if left untreated, can lead to severe medical complications and death. Therefore, many medical insurance companies pay for the cost of Oral Sleep Appliance Therapy if proper medical protocol is followed by an experienced and qualified dental provider. As a Certified Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dental Team, we are happy to help you through the entire treatment process and will assist you in maximizing any medical insurance benefits you may have.
So how do you know if you may be at risk for Sleep Apnea?
Take a simple sleep quiz now.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is more common than people think. The latest estimates say 1 out of 6 people have it and don't even know it. If you are one of them, it's nice to know you're not alone -- many famous people have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Do you recognize any of these famous faces?
And now Federal investigators have determined that the train engineers operating the LIRR and NJ Transit trains that derailed suffered from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Read the Newsday article here and coverage in US News & World Reports here.
Through the screening in the office, I found out (to my total shock) that I have sleep apnea! ----I also found out that many famous people have DIED from this (I received quite an education from Dr. Chicvak and his very knowledgeable staff!) So I came in today to have impressions taken for my Sleep Apnea Appliance; I was dreading this visit because I'm such a terrible gagger. However, Dr. Chicvak's assistant, Sinead, took my impression today; she was so gentle that for the first time in my life I DIDN'T GAG (not even a little!) I am delighted with everything about Dr. Chicvak, his office, and his amazing staff. If you're looking for the best dental experience of your life don't even hesitate to call them! - Diana
To learn more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea and for a comprehensive sleep evaluation,
please schedule an appointment or call our office today.