Jun 08

Shaquille O’neal was recently diagnosed with mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by a group of doctors at the Harvard Medical School. This video shows Shaq speaking about his condition with his wife and his physicians. It also shows Shaq undergoing a polysomongram, or “sleep study”, and being fitted for a CPAP, continuous positive air pressure, to treat his sleep apnea. Shaq appears to be really receptive to wearing the CPAP, and even jokes about wearing the mask to a nightclub. It’s great to see that he is willing to try to wear the CPAP for his treatment of sleep apnea. CPAP is a wonderful treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, that when worn works almost all of time. However, for many patients, the thought of sleeping while wearing a mask with hoses attached to it does not appeal to them, and many patients refuse to try at all. In many cases, if the patient cannot, or will not wear the CPAP as prescribed by their sleep physician, the sleep physician can refer the patient to a dentist that has been trained in dental sleep medicine. The dentist can create a sleep apnea dental appliance that can be used to successfully treat obstructive sleep apnea. I’m happy to see that Shaq has been so open about his sleep apnea condition and his successful treatment with CPAP. I hope that this will help others seek to have their sleeping and breathing disorders properly diagnosed and treated. Dr. Zach Hodgins of The Dentist’s Studio in Winter Park, Florida has successfully treated many patients that have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, and patients that will not wear CPAP, with a dental sleep apnea treatment appliance, sometimes called a dental sleep apnea mouthpiece, or a mandibular advancement device. You can reach Dr. Zach Hodgins at his office in Winter Park, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, Florida by telephone at 407.647.1744, or via the web at www.stopsleepapnea.info .

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 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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Feb 03

Wall Street Journal logoThe Wall Street Journal just published this fantastic article entitle “The New Face of Sleep”. It’s all about the dangers of sleep apnea . The author does a wonderful job of defining sleep apnea and the various types of treatments that are available to patients. The author also discusses the fact that obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition that is grossly ignored, even after being prescribed the proper treatment from their sleep physician or dentist. Treatments like CPAP and oral appliances made by a dentist are extremely effective. I hope that this article will help to enlighten people about the risks of sleep apnea.

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