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sleep apnea epidemic threatens public health

Sleep Apnea Epidemic Threatens Public Health

According to a 2014 statement released by the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, more than 25 million Americans are afflicted by Sleep Apnea, and many don’t even know it. Both medical and dental sleep specialists are working to help improve the quality of life for those who get a full night’s sleep and wake unrefreshed. Dr. Caracioni treats sleep apnea patients for whom CPAP therapy is not well tolerated.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) often goes undiagnosed because there are no clear signs to detect it in bloodwork or physical examination at a doctor’s visit. The most common reason OSA is identified is when a loved one complains about the patient’s snoring, which occurs when air forces its way through a collapsed or blocked airway.

Another warning sign of OSA is when a patient sleeps a full 8 to 10 hours and wakes feeling unrefreshed. This is often dismissed as a factor of age or anxiety, but should be discussed with a medical professional because OSA can be dangerous. In patients with sleep apnea, the body Is deprived of oxygen because the body is either breathing very shallowly, or something has caused breathing to stop entirely, and the body must arouse itself to resume normal breathing. Lack of oxygen to the body can lead to additional chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as increase risk for blood clots and strokes.

A sleep lab can run tests to identify sleep apnea and other causes of poor quality sleep using sensors to monitor the patient’s breathing, movement, and air intake; while electrodes monitor brain activity. In many cases, sleep apnea can be treated with dental orthotics that position the jaw and the tongue to prevent airway obstruction.

To discuss oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea, contact our office at (785) 783-0741.