Subject: FW: OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
WHAT IS OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious medical condition that can occur during
sleep whenever the airway becomes blocked so that no oxygen can reach the lungs for
10 seconds or more. It has been shown to be associated with greatly increased
chances of irregular heart beat, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and
even diabetes. If the blockage occurs from 5 to 15 times each hour the problem is
felt to be MILD. If the blockage occurs 15 to 25 times each hour the problem is
felt to be MODERATE, and more than 25 times is SEVERE. In many cases severe
blockage can occur up to once a minute or 60 times per hour, and extreme cases have
been reported in excess of 100 time each hour. The apnic episodes are usually
characterized by intermittent periods of loud snoring and then brief silent periods
when the air flow is completely stopped.
We normally breathe in and out every 5 seconds because a constant supply of oxygen
is the one thing we need for life. Heart attack and stroke are a direct result of
lack of oxygen to the heart muscle or the brain, and death occurs if we are without
oxygen for about 5 minutes. When breathing stops during apnea, we are able to stay
alive because the brain wakes us enough to pull the lower jaw and tongue forward to
unblock the airway. We do not remember these frequent awakenings, but they rob us
of normal, restful deep sleep. This results in varying degrees of the symptoms
that are reported by most patients with sleep apnea.
1. Waking, feeling tired, groggy or with headache.
2. Daytime lack of energy, drowsiness, and a lethargic tired feeling.
3. Loud snoring, stoppage of breathing, gasping sounds.
4. Trouble concentrating, falling asleep inappropriately or when idle.
5. Memory loss, weight gain, poor judgement, personality changes.
6. Loss of libido
OSA is caused during sleep due to natural backward relaxation of the muscles of the
tongue and soft palate. If, due to inherited large size, they are able to block
the entire throat space when they relax backward, and they completely and
dangerously close the airway so that you are totally unable to breathe for 10
seconds then oxygen can no longer enter the lungs.
As an apnic episode lengthens, oxygen deprivation to the body increases and the
brain awakens you just enough to move your lower jaw forward. Because the tongue
is attached to the lower jaw just behind your front teeth, the forward jaw movement
also pulls the tongue forward to re-open the airway, and oxygen can once again pass
to the lungs.
As the airway is re-opened there is sometimes a gasping or snorting sound, but
usually these awakenings are not remembered.
To stop the SNORING, the most effective, affordable, non-invasive solution is a
unique but simple preventative nighttime device that holds the lower jaw in a
slightly forward position. This foward position opens the airway enough to allow
more normal passage of air, and then vibrations are greatly reduced. Because the
device allows for free movement of the lower jaw, patients universally find it much
more comfortable than older, one piece, bulky appliances that hold the lower jaw
immobile in a fixed, rigid position. When this unique appliance is fabricated to
help patients stop snoring, the result is much more restful sleep with the return
of normal pep and energy for both the patient and any others whose sleep is
disturbed by the loud noise.
Options for treating SLEEP APNEA used to be restricted to uncomfortable air
pressure machines (CPAP) or with various surgeries (the most common of which
involves removal of the back part of the palate). In recent years, devices similar
to those used to prevent snoring have proven successful in treatment of sleep
apnea. Because apnic episodes can be reduced 70% to 90%, the device has become a
preferred treatment by sleep specialists and clinics to effectively accomplish
comfortable and effective reductions of OSA episodes. Since OSA is a medical
problem, the device is usually covered by most medical insurance policies.
RELATIONSHIP TO TMJ
Many patients with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea also have TMJ symptoms. It
is important that the doctor treating the snoring and OSA be aware of pre-existing
TMJ so that the treatment may be successful and not trigger symptoms related to the
jaw joints or muscles.
David L. Burns D.D.S.
4616 West Jefferson Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46804