Studies have shown that having untreated sleep apnea is worse than being legally drunk," Steven Park, MD
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) April 14, 2012
Do you find yourself barely able to carry on a conversation or get through your day, because of lack of energy? Are you exhausted all of the time? Are you keeping loved ones up at night because of snoring? Do you experience sleeplessness or even breathlessness? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea? According to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), “sleep apnea is an involuntary cessation of breathing that occurs while somebody is asleep and it is estimated to affect over 22 million people”.
Sleep apnea can occur in two types: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and Central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA is the most common form and occurs when breathing repeatedly stops and starts during a sleep cycle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “OSA increases the chances of a heart attack, stroke, type-2 diabetes, obesity, brain damage, and depression”.
In light of this growing problem, Wednesday, April 18, has been designated as National Sleep Apnea Awareness Day by the ASAA, but for people like Elias Kalantzis, Managing Partner of SLEEPTEST.com, the impact of this disease doesn’t last just one day. Kalantzis’ brother Peter died unexpectedly at the age of 36 due to cardiac death from complications that may have been attributed to sleep apnea. “It wasn’t right. We thought he had the problem under control, but he wasn’t using the continuous positive airway (CPAP) mask consistently. “It is his death that prompted me to want to get the word out about sleep apnea and the different forms of treatment that are available”.
According to Dr. Dan Tache, DMD, a Dentist Representative for SLEEPTEST.com, “We just want to get the word out. This is a huge epidemic. Only ten percent of people are being treated for it. As dentists we have the capability to catch the signs of sleep apnea through researching patient complaints such as jaw discomfort,” Tache said. “Teeth grinding is also another way that we are able to detect sleep apnea”.
CPAP is considered to be the ‘gold star’ standard for most patients, but if not used properly or consistently it is ineffective. “For those who suffer from mild to severe sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy (OAT) is another alternative that can be used in conjunction with or without CPAP,” Tashe said. OAT is a custom fabricated mouth piece that is similar to a retainer. The mouth piece is custom fit and works by repositioning the jaw and pushing the tongue forward or by restraining the tongue to keep airways open.
Tache along with members of the dental community are partnering with companies such as SLEEPTEST.com in efforts to be able to prevent sleep apnea. Dentists across the United States are now able to approach patients that show signs that they could be suffering from sleep apnea.
Visit http://www.sleeptest.com to find out more information on sleep apnea. You can also fill out an online questionnaire to find out if you may be at risk for sleep apnea and in turn it will provide you with contact information of dentists in your area that offer oral appliance therapy.
“I don’t want anyone to have to lose their life or have to suffer the loss of someone who is close to them, when it could have been prevented,” Kalantzis said.