Oct 25

Sleeping and breathing disorders, i.e. sleep apnea, snoring, etc., are not only dangerous for your overall health, but they can also destroy your marriage. According to the 2005 National Sleep Foundation survey, 23% of couples that have a partner that snores sleep in separate beds, bedrooms, or on the couch, another 8% have altered their sleep schedules to account for their snoring partner, 7% wear earplugs to drown out the noise from snoring, 38% say that snoring is causing a problem with their relationship, and 27% said that it is affecting their intimate relationships.

So as you can see from this study, it’s critical for your relationship and your health to stop snoring. Many times snoring can be a sign of a far more dangerous health problem, namely obstructive sleep apnea. If you snore it is important to see your physician for a consultation and most likely a sleep study in a sleep laboratory, also called a polysomnogram (PSG).

Whether it is snoring or obstructive sleep apnea as a diagnosis, patients that snore can be helped by either by wearing a CPAP, or by using an oral appliance made by a dentist. The oral appliance, also called a mandibular advancement splint, moves the lower jaw forward eliminating the soft tissue obstruction of the airway, and hence the snoring is also silenced.

Dr. Zach Hodgins of the Dentist’s Studio in Winter Park,FL, offers help to those that snore and those that have obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Hodgins can be reached for consultation at 407.647.1744 or www.dentiststudio.com

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Mar 01

We recently had a family member from out of town visit us here in Winter Park, FL this past week. Winter Park is located right outside of Orlando, FL. As always, it was so good to see him and catch up with what’s new in his life. As the week went on, I noticed that whenever we were watching TV and relaxing, that he would fall asleep while seated. He would snore, and even visibly stop breathing for long periods of time. When he would sleep at night i could hear him snore very loudly as well. The next day I spoke to him about my observations and mentioned that he was exhibited quite a few signs and symptoms of having obstructive sleep apnea. I mentioned to him that his neck was greater than 17 inches in diameter, he was overweight, he snored, and that he stopped breathing on several occasions that I witnessed. He has excessive daytime sleepiness as well. I told him that obstructive sleep apnea can kill you. It raises the chance of having a heart attack by 6 times that of healthy person. The same goes for having a stroke. You are 6 times more likely to have a stroke if you have obstructive sleep apnea. So, I recommended that he have a sleep study done. I have a Watch Pat 200, which is a home sleep monitor that is approved by the FDA. It measures total sleep time, pulse rate, body position, snoring volume, time in each phase of sleep, blood oxygen saturation, desaturation events, and calculates the 3 sleep indices. He took the test that night, and I uploaded his results to a sleep physician’s site for the sleep doctor to read the study and diagnose his condition. It turned out that he has severe obstructive sleep apnea. He stopped breathing 271 TIMES during one nights sleep!!! Can you imagine holding your breath 271 times in one night and getting a good nights sleep? No wonder he was falling asleep so often during the day. He was exhausted and didn’t even know it. This is so dangerous, and why automobile accidents that involve people that have sleep apnea are such a problem. Since he has severe obstructive sleep apnea, the sleep doctor recommended a CPAP to treat his apnea. He will give the CPAP a try, and if he can’t tolerate the CPAP, I can always make him a dental sleep apnea appliance here in Orlando, FL. I am strongly encouraging him to use the CPAP, as it is the best treatment for severe obstructive sleep apnea. I’m just so happy that he came to Winter Park, FL to visit, and that I was able to observe his problem. I’m sure that I saved his life! If you know someone that snores or stops breathing when they sleep, you owe it to them to educate them on the dangers of sleep apnea. They should see their physician to discuss this problem and come up with a solution for their sleep problem. You cold save the life of someone you love!

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Feb 28

Obese PicThe new year has begun and already the New Year’s Resolutions of losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle are beginning to fade. I can see it in the decrease in the amount of people that frequent my local healthclub. They started out with a bang, but are now starting to fizzle. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), obesity in adults has increased by 60% within the past twenty years and obesity in children has tripled in the past thirty years. An alarming 33% of American adults are obese and obesity-related deaths have climbed to more than 300,000 a year, second only to tobacco-related deaths. America is losing the battle of the buldge, and it is doing far more than just making us look unattractive.

Is America’s Obesity Epidemic Affecting our quality of sleep?

The answer would be a resounding YES! Of the many negative effects that obesity has on our health, none could be more damaging than our ability to get a good nights sleep. It is a fact that people that are overweight are prone to developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It is the accumulation of fat around the neck that poses the greatest threat to a patent airway. Excessive neck fat tends to cause the soft tissues around the airway to collapse, hence cutting off the flow of oxygen to the lungs and brain. Obstructive sleep apnea can kill, so it’s important to take steps to treat it.

Losing weight by adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine will most likely reduce the severity of sleep apnea in these people. Also, treatments such as CPAP, and oral dental appliances that move the lower jaw forward are critical in treating obstructive sleep apnea in the obese population.

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Feb 27

Sleep Apnea Keeping Wife AwakeWhat are the signs and symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The symptoms of Obstructive sleep apnea include: Snoring, Witnessed Apnea, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Nocturnal Choking, Unrefreshed Sleep, Poor Sleep Quality, Insomnia, Morning Headaches, Impaired Concentration, Impaired Memory, Nocturia, Anxiety, Impotence, Depression, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

The signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea include: Obesity, Increased Neck Circumference, Increased Waist Circumference, Retrognathia (, Maxillary (Upper Jaw) Constriction, Excessive Overjet of the teeth, Excessive Overbite of the teeth, Tonsilar Hypertrophy (enlarged tonsils), Macroglossia (enlargement of the tongue), Oropharyngeal narrowing, Nasal obstruction, High Blood Pressure.

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, speak to a sleep physician to diagnose and correct the potentially fatal condition that is Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

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Feb 04

brain-763982-11[1]On Friday February 1, 2010 the American Academy of Sleep Medicine sent out a news release that outlined new research that shows that people who suffer from severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) have decreased concentrations of gray matter throughout the brain.

Gray matter is found in the brain’s cerebral cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for processing information, memory formation and many other crucial brain activities.

Dr. Seung Bong Hong, a professor of neurology at the Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, said in the news release that “Poor sleep quality and progressive brain damage induced by OSA could be responsible for poor memory, emotional problems, decreased cognitive functioning and increased cardiovascular disturbances.” He went on to say that “The use of continuous positive airway pressure therapy could stop further progression of brain damage in patients with severe OSA.”

This study illustrates how serious obstructive sleep apnea is, and how proper diagnosis and treatment is vitally important. CPAP is the gold standard for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. A dental appliance that repositions the jaw in a more forward position can also be very effective. Oral appliances are most effective in the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea, and people that cannot wear their CPAP.

Reference: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, Feb. 1, 2010

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Jan 28

Undiagnosed, and hence, untreated sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous, if not deadly. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk for developing the following:
• High blood pressure
• Diabetes
• Stroke Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Obesity accidents
• Heart disease
• Driving and work-related
• Decreased sex drive
• Depression
• Irritability
• Morning headaches
• Impaired concentration

If you or someone that you love snores, stops breathing while sleeping, or is excessively tired during the day, please contact your family physician so that he or she can diagnose your condition.

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Jan 26

There is a perception amongst the general population that snoring is a harmless annoyance, and nothing else. However, this is the furthest thing from the truth. Everyone should know that Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are very common medical problems that should not be overlooked. Snoring is usually a tell tale sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a potentially deadly condition. One of the most common symptoms is feeling very sleepy during the day. If you or your loved one snores or is sleepy during the day, they should see a sleep physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment. You can also speak to your dentist about snoring and sleep apnea. Your dentist can help with your snoring and or sleep apnea by making an oral appliance for you. The oral appliances are very effective for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea; it is also effective for those patients that cannot wear their CPAP.

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Jan 18

Recently a group out of the Universtity of Chicago reported, in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, that obstructive sleep apnea may adversely affect the body’s ability to control it’s sugar levels (glucose). This can lead to major problems with people that suffer from type 2, adult onset, diabetes.

Renee S. Aronsohn, MD, of the University of Chicago, said “for the first time that there is a clear, graded inverse relationship between [obstructive sleep apnea] severity and glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

John Heffner, MD, past president of the American Thoracic Society, said in a recent news release that at least 80% people with type 2 diabetes also have obstructive sleep apnea.

This study is encouraging because obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition. Hence, if the obstructive sleep apnea is treated the person’s ability to control his/her blood sugar levels would most likely improve.

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Jan 17

In April 2006, the Institute of Medicine released a 461 page report entitled “Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem” (http://nap.edu). According to the paper, an estimated 50-70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, with the estimated prevalence of OSAS being 4 to 7% of the U.S. The term used to describe excessive sleepiness is hypersomnolence. The statistics regarding the damage caused by this problem are astounding. $150 Billion annually is lost in decreased productivity and accidents. The medical costs from daytime hypersomnolence alone cost another $48 billion. The most shocking of all the statistics listed within the paper is that 20% of all serious car accidents involve daytime hypersomnolence. This statistic is independent of those accidents involving alcohol.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) established “Dentists Against Drowsy Driving” in November 2008. It’s goal is to increase awareness throughout the health professions and the public about the dangers associated with undiagnosed and untreated sleep-related breathing disorders. Dr Zach Hodgins, a dentist practicing in Winter Park, FL, is an expert in treating patients that have been diagnosed by their physicians with OSA. “The problem with sleep-related breathing disorders is that it is a problem that is rarely screened for by most physicians and dentists”, says Dr. Hodgins. Dr. Hodgins recommends that any patient with any signs of sleep apnea see their physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

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Jan 15

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is holding their first ever national conference on sleep apnea and it’s effects on commercial truck drivers, on May 12 in Baltimore, MD.
Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea is extremely dangerous. When you couple sleep apnea with the exhaustion that often accompanies driving a commericial truck, the results can be deadly. As a result of this, experts say that impending regulation that would require mandatory sleep apnea screening and treatment for truck drivers, much like drug testing, is in the works.

The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) will host the conference in Baltimore this May. There will be presentations and discussions designed to assist the trucking industry with the problem at hand

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