Guests at the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club were recently treated to a special presentation by Michael Uzelac, a dentist representing Sleep Airway Solutions who focuses on the study of sleep medicine. The topic of the day's presentation was sleep apnea, and the warning signs, as well as preventative measures, to keep those with the sleep disorder safe.
Over 30 million Americans have sleep apnea, with 1 in 4 middle-aged men and 1 in 10 middle-aged women suffering from the disorder. And while some people dismiss apnea as something they can ignore, Uzelac was quick to point out that this kind of thinking can be dangerous. Chronic illness and death are common for those who don’t treat their sleep apnea as it is the leading cause of hypertension in adults.
There were many signs which Uzleac pointed to that could tip off patients when something was wrong, from restless sleep to early morning headaches. However, the biggest symptom of sleep apnea, and the one that was the focus of most of Uzelac’s presentation, was chronic snoring.
Snoring is common as we grow older. In fact, by age 60, around 60% of men and 40% of women report having consistent or disruptive snoring occurring while they sleep. Snoring is created when the soft tissue of the throat vibrates, which causes a deep guttural sound.
While most of us might see snoring as a mild annoyance, Uzelac made sure to point out why everyone should take it more seriously. Snoring is associated with cognitive decline as well as being a risk factor for heart disease as well as diabetes.
As snoring gets worse, it can lead to an even more serious form of apnea called sleep apnea. Diagnosed as either mild, moderate or severe, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the medical diagnosis for someone suffering from a sleep breathing disorder. OSA is typically diagnosed in either a hospital setting, where sleep test are conducted by doctors and staff, or at home where patients can administer their own tests.
No matter how you are diagnosed, the treatment of sleep apnea comes in a variety of forms. One of the most convenient is the route that Dr. Uzelac takes with the oral appliances. By fabricating a custom made appliance, patients can see a dramatic improvement in their sleep. The oral appliance is not only a smaller, simpler to travel with treatment, but also an option for those with claustrophobia as it removes the mask that CPAP machines require.
For more information on sleep apnea and the treatments offered by Sleep Away Solutions, check out their website to make a appointment.