It’s a new year and a time when people decide to write a list of things they would like to change, goals they want to set, and plans they want to put in place to create a better self and a better outlook in life.
If the goal is to feel better, lose weight or make a significant change in overall health, for 22 MILLION AMERICANS, there is one distinct resolution that could put them directly on that path to a successful outcome.
So what do those 22 million people have in common and what is that panoptic resolution? The answer is: TREATING THEIR SLEEP APNEA!
WAIT! Before you scroll away and leave this blog because you think this doesn’t pertain to you, it might interest you to know that sleep disorders, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), have become a serious health issue with 80 percent of the cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea going UNDIAGNOSED. That’s a lot of people who don’t even know they have it! It affects more than 1 in 3 men and 1 in 6 women in the United States.
Here are the symptoms that might indicate that you suffer from sleep apnea and may want to get tested:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which might be noticed by another person
- Abruptly waking up by choking or gasping
- Awakening with a sore throat, dry mouth or headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Lack of energy and loss of focus
- Decreased sex drive
- High blood pressure
If you have any of those symptoms you may want to talk with your doctor and schedule a sleep study, or polysomnography. A polysomnography sleep study is a diagnostic test that records your brain waves, the oxygen level in your blood, heart rate, and breathing, as well as eye and leg movements during the study.
How does treating your sleep apnea become a solution to improving your overall health?
First, it’s important to understand what Obstructive Sleep Apnea is and how it affects your entire body. OSA is the most common sleep apnea disorder. It occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax and your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. You can't get enough air, which can lower the oxygen level in your blood. This can happen 5 to 30+ times per hour, sometimes for more than 10 seconds at a time.
Your brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you don't remember it, but it is causing you to have an interrupted sleep pattern.
When you have sleep apnea it can cause serious health issues. But if treated, the positive effects can be profound. A good night’s sleep can generate many health benefits including:
- Strengthen your immune system
- Prevent excess weight gain
- Lower risk for serious health problems, like Type 2 Diabetes Stroke and Heart Disease
- Reduce stress and improved mood
- Improve cognitive ability and memory
- Better mental health and decreased depression
- Lower inflammation
- Increase sex drive
How Do You Get Started on Improving Your Overall Health?
When it comes to setting new year’s resolutions some of the biggest reasons why they fail include lack of willpower, setting goals too high, and insufficient planning. If your goal is to improve your overall health and get your energy back, treating your sleep apnea is a solution and a process that does not require a great deal of effort or planning to get started.
Simply contact your PCP to schedule an appointment to discuss a treatment plan. There are a few options for treating sleep apnea, including CPAP, oral appliances, and surgery.
At Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine, we treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea through oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is a device that you wear in your mouth during sleep. It looks a lot like an orthodontic retainer or a sports mouthguard, although the technology behind oral appliances is more advanced.
Most oral appliances fall into one of two categories: mandibular repositioning devices or tongue retaining devices. A tongue retaining device works by engaging the tongue and moving it to a more forward position in your mouth during sleep. Mandibular repositioning devices change the position of your jaw during sleep, which helps open your airway.
Oral appliances are easy to use and care for, they are smooth and comfortable, convenient to travel with, and are covered by most medical insurance plans.
There is no better time than the present! To speak to someone who can help get you started, contact Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine today at (724)935-6670 and one of our staff members will help guide you to a new year, a new beginning, and a new YOU in 2021!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
This blog post contains general information about medical conditions. Resources include: