Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that can be potentially serious. It's characterized by repetitive nocturnal breathing cessation episodes because of upper airway collapse. It's linked with a significant cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Fortunately, there are numerous treatment options available for efficient management of OSA.
While the typical obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patient is pictured as a heavyset male with a bulky neck, who is over the age of 40 and has a snore that could raise the roof, there are other sleep apnea causes. Therefore, sleep apnea and obesity do not represent the entire demographic of individuals who suffer with this sleeping disorder, people with sleep apnea all shapes and sizes.
When it comes to people’s sleep goals, many of us tend to focus on how many hours of sleep they get. We hear that comment from our patients all the time here at Premier Sleep Associates. While the number of hours you are in bed to sleep is a great benchmark to start with, you also need to focus on the quality of sleep and restfulness you have to get the most out of your sleep.
With the number of convenient health tracking tools available today, it’s no surprise that you can now keep track of and analyze your sleep using digital tools available for your smartphone, computer, and tablet. Many different online screeners and sleep tracking apps now exist to help you keep track of your sleep: you can manually log or automatically sync up data about your bedtime, your wake time, your sleep fragmentation, and even, potentially, signs and symptoms of sleep disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea.
Some researchers refer to this category of tracking and recording health data at home to later share with a doctor as “telemedicine.”
But how good are these consumer digital health tools, really? Is it possible for an average person to gather accurate enough sleep data on your own to make a preliminary diagnosis of a problem as serious as obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the medical term used when referring to a sleep disorder that is characterized by an intermittent failure to breathe during sleep due to some type of physical obstruction that repeatedly blocks the airway. The body struggles to breathe but cannot – the effort can go on for 10, 20, 30 seconds or more. When the blockage is finally cleared, gasps for air, snorts and/or choking sounds occur as the body resumes normal breathing. Until the block happens again.
For years, individuals with OSA have been treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP); however, oral appliances as a first line therapy for sleep apnea may be able to address a patient’s obstructive sleep apnea without the need for expensive, bulky and uncomfortable equipment.
Is your child restless in bed and tired during the daytime? When you go into their bedroom, do you see the sheets twisted up and the covers undone? Maybe they come into your room to complain of not being able to fall asleep or go back to sleep. They may say their legs are itchy or tickly. If so, it could be that your child is one of the approximate 2%-4% of children who may have Restless Leg Syndrome, according to The National Sleep Foundation.
Do you think you have obstructive sleep apnea? Perhaps you’ve taken a sleep apnea quiz online and realize you have several of the symptoms or indicators, like snoring, morning headaches, or excessive daytime sleepiness.
Maybe your physician has noted your likelihood for apnea based on factors like your BMI, neck circumference, cardiovascular health, or family history. It’s even possible your doctor or sleep medicine dentist has asked you to pre-screen for apnea using the STOP BANG questionnaire—a diagnostic tool that helps physicians screen patients for the probability of moderate to severe sleep apnea.
If you think you have sleep apnea, you may be correct. After all, about 22 million Americans are living with this health condition, according to current figures, and an estimated 80% of these cases are thought to be undiagnosed. You could be one of those undiagnosed cases.
Did you know that if a pregnant woman has untreated sleep apnea, the risk of her delivering her baby prematurely increases?
A 2017 study conducted at the University of California San Francisco showed that women diagnosed with insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) had nearly double the risk of early premature delivery—that is, birth before 34 weeks—as compared to women without sleep disorders. A 2016 Thai study published in the journal Sleep Breath showed similar increased risk of preterm birth.
Early preterm births come with their own sets of health risks for mother and child. But what many people don’t realize is that “preemie” infants also have a higher likelihood of developing sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing as children and adults.
We at Premiere Sleep Associates are proud to share that our colleagues at Zephyr Sleep Technologies Inc. have been approved by the FDA to sell their new medical device in the United States. The MATRx Plus™ is “the first ever ‘at-home’ class II medical device to identify obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients suitable for oral appliance therapy.” (Link to press release.) Zephyr has partnered with Dentsply Sirona, the world’s largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies, to bring MATRx plus™ to the United States market.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea like 22 million other Americans, you are likely using CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy to manage your sleep disorder. . . Unless, of course, you’re struggling to wear the mask or nasal pillows every night.
If you’re uncomfortable or claustrophobic, you may actually end up sleeping without the CPAP gear more often than you’d like to admit to your doctor. Or maybe you have good intentions and start out wearing your sleep mask, only to wake up and find you’ve pulled it off your face in the night.