Sunday, April 29, 2012

How fast is sleep apnea’s damage?

Some illnesses bring on health problems right away whereas others might go undetected for quite a while. I used to wonder where you would put sleep apnea, does it have an immediate impact on you or does it take a while.  If you consider that there are a lot of folks that have sleep apnea and don’t even know it you would think that severe health risks would arise after some time. In a recent article in Science Daily they go over a study that showed how quickly sleep apnea can affect the body.

The study looked at the effect that sleep apnea had on a group of middle aged men who had obstructive sleep apnea and their conclusion was that even a mild form of sleep apnea can cause problems in the cerebral vessels which may lead to a stroke.  What is really frightening is that the cerebral vessels may be altered after 30 days!

That has to be awfully scary for anyone who has had sleep apnea it should also be “wakeup call” for those who think that they might have sleep apnea but they haven’t been tested.  If the present is any indication the number of people with sleep apnea will continue to rise causing an incredible health risk in the future.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Provent nasal patch and sleep apnea

Last year I wrote about a new device that helps those with mild to moderate sleep apnea, the Provent Nasal Patch. It seems that the device has been getting more popular and more press since it was approved in 2008 by the FDA.

The idea behind the Nasal patch is quite simple. A plug is put in each nostril and there is adhesive to hold them in place. The device is referred to as an EPAP or expiratory positive airway pressure which in essence causes pressure through exhalation this forcing the upper airway to become open. The patches are also disposable. There are been studies that show the device to be highly effective for more information on subsequent studies go to the National Institute of Health’s page on the device and study.

As you can imagine not everyone is suited for this type of device although it might not be as cumbersome as a CPAP mask and probably not as effective.  I don’t know if the insurance companies are covering yet it would probably be best just to check with your health care provider.

The company that makes it refers to it as Proventtherapy, check out their website for further information.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

My father had sleep apnea also

Your family’s health history especially your parents can be a great indicator of potential health problems down the road. In my own case my father had heart disease and died from a heart attack, it wasn’t really surprising to find out that heart problems ran in his family. This information has been golden for me because I have made sure that my cholesterol and blood pressure has been in the normal range for quite a few years.  But there are some illnesses like sleep apnea where you wouldn’t think that heredity would play a part in it, but it does. Unfortunately my father had sleep apnea and so do I.

Of course there is more than one factor that leads to sleep apnea; probably the main one is being overweight. When you put on the extra pounds some of them end up on your face and neck which in turn contributes to the blockage of the airway in the back of the throat. I’m not sure that being overweight is caused by heredity but some folks seem to think so.

The possible connection with regards to sleep apnea between my father and me is the shape of our faces. That seems strange but the shape of one’s face can cause sleep apnea. If the face is round and big this somehow can cause a blockage in the back of the throat. There seems to be some validity in that because his face was round like mine. What was also strange was that he wasn’t overweight at all.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sleep apnea and mandibular advancement splint

Last week I was discussing sleep apnea and surgeries and how they are usually reserved for those who have tried the CPAP and it doesn’t really help them. I received a comment from Thomas Bishara, DMD about the mandibular advancement splint (a device that I can’t remember if I had heard about before or not)

Here is the comment…

I treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and primary snoring patients. The mandibular advancement splint is a popular non-surgical approach to snoring/OSA treatment.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliance therapy as the first line therapy for mild and moderate OSA. Patients with severe OSA should try CPAP first. If patient is found to be CPAP intolerant, they should be fitted for a MAS.

We also use combination CPAP/MAS to reduce the CPAP pressure and make using CPAP more comfortable. Many patients have tried the surgical route with mixed results, Thanks for your post

The mandibular advancement splint sounds interesting of course like the Dr. said it is only for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Any time you can find a non-surgical device to help with sleep apnea you should consider it. I looked at Wikipedia and I found a picture of the device. Although it doesn’t appear to be very comfortable looking it still may be worth a try.

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