What is Sleep Medicine?

What is Sleep Medicine?

Getting a good night’s sleep can make or break your day when you wake up. If you’ve had a good night’s sleep then you’re feeling fresh to start your day. But the effects of sleep deprivation can cause you to wake up cranky, groggy, and feeling like you’re dragging all day long with excessive daytime sleepiness.

Just as there are many reasons why you may be sleep deprived, there are just as many ways to improve healthy sleep habits. Understanding what’s causing your poor sleep quality is just as important as improving it. Fixing your sleep issues isn’t always as easy as taking a sleeping pill or other sleep aids. Poor sleep quality could be a sign of a much more serious health problem.

That’s where sleep medicine comes in. It can determine if you have a sleep disorder or medical problem that is keeping you up all night. It’s estimated that 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. If you think you’re part of this group, you’re probably looking for help. That’s where seeking the help of a sleep medicine professional can change the way you sleep.

What is Sleep Medicine?

Sleep medicine takes a look at sleep disorders. When you see a doctor who is a sleep medicine specialist, they are trained to look for sleep disorders. An accredited sleep physician is familiar with a variety of sleep problems including:

  • Pediatric sleep problems
  • Circadian rhythm disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • And a variety of other types of sleeping disorders and issues

Sleep medicine can help to treat several different types of issues. Let’s take a look at what a sleep medicine specialist can help treat.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea can be a serious condition. When someone has OSA, they may stop breathing frequently during the night. This can be due to a blocked airway, or the brain not sending the right signals to breathe. Throughout the night, people can stop breathing for as long as 40 seconds. During this time, your brain wakes up, causing you to move and resume breathing.

A common sign of OSA is snoring or a sound like someone is choking or gasping for air. Sleep apnea can cause the level of oxygen in the blood to drop. This leads to restlessness, waking up abruptly, and poor sleep.  Since OSA interrupts your sleep, you are left feeling groggy which can lead to poor productivity at work and can put you at a greater risk of getting into a car accident because you’re not as alert as you should be.

Many people don’t know they have this condition until someone observes them sleeping. They may feel fatigued, but not realize that they are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

Besides getting a poor night’s sleep, obstructive sleep apnea can also lead to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.  Several treatments can help improve poor sleep quality associated with OSA. This includes a customized mouth guard that’s worn at night or the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

Many people with sleep apnea don’t like using continuous positive airway pressure machines and prefer an oral appliance to help them with their obstructive sleep apnea. At Sleep Better Columbus, we can help you find the one that is most comfortable and suits your needs. These oral appliances work to move the lower jaw forward to open the airway and unblock your windpipe. This can improve breathing at night and help people sleep better.

FDA-registered oral appliances can be used to treat sleep apnea when they are given by a qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine.

For some people, losing weight can also help to treat sleep apnea. Some people who are obese and suffer from OSA are advised to lose weight to also help with their apnea issues. But losing weight isn’t always enough. This is why it’s a good idea to request an appointment with someone experienced with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as well as special training for diagnosing and treating OSA.

If you think you have sleep apnea, it’s best to get the treatment you need to get a better night’s sleep and improve your overall health.

Primary Insomnia

Besides sleep apnea, sleep medicine also addresses the issue of primary insomnia. You may be suffering from primary insomnia if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or waking up frequently during the night. If this happens for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from primary chronic insomnia.

Primary insomnia may be caused by anxiety, depression, too much caffeine, or certain medications. When you don’t sleep properly, your body is not getting the time it needs to repair and restore it. This leads to many problems including tiredness during the day and poor decision-making.

When your insomnia lasts for three months or more, it is considered chronic and can lead to even more problems. Seeking the help of a sleep medicine specialist can help to alleviate the problems that are leading to your insomnia.

Narcolepsy

When you’re asking what is sleep medicine, narcolepsy also needs to be addressed. Narcolepsy not only disrupts people’s sleep during the night but also makes them sleepy during the day. They feel overwhelmingly tired and have trouble fighting off the urge to sleep. Sometimes people even fall asleep while they’re trying to have a conversation.

This is especially dangerous because it can happen when people are driving and even eating. The dangers of this are obvious because people can get into an accident and even choke when they’re eating.

A sleep specialist can help people with narcolepsy so that they can feel more awake and not be at risk of hurting themselves or someone else.

Call us for Sleep Medicine Help

At Sleep Better Columbus, we want to help you sleep better. We can answer your questions when it comes to what is sleep medicine and provides you with the help you need to get a better night’s sleep. We are dedicated to staying on top of sleep research to be able to provide our patients with a diagnosis based on their unique symptoms. We’ll then provide a treatment program to help you improve your sleep hygiene to help put an end to your sleep disturbances and sleep problems. Dr. Mark Levy, a sleep specialist, and his team are trained in providing help to those suffering from sleep apnea.

They can help people with sleep apnea, snoring, and many of the conditions that can go along with them, like teeth grinding and fatigue. When you have your sleep issues addressed, you’ll regain your health, vitality, energy, and improve your overall quality of life. Dr. Levy and his team also help patients with sleep education and to understand the effects of sleep disorders. Healthy sleep behaviors and habits are vital to living a healthy, happy life.

The team at Sleep Better Columbus can help with diagnosis and testing. Request an appointment today at 614-362-7292 to find out more about sleep research and sleep hygiene and how sleep specialists can help you.

For Sleep Apnea, a Mouth Guard May be a Good Alternative to CPAP

For Sleep Apnea, a Mouth Guard May be a Good Alternative to CPAP

People with sleep apnea who can’t tolerate the noise and discomfort of a CPAP machine might benefit from a mouth guard or surgery.

By Nicholas Bakalar

Article Published May 31, 2021

Oral device that us used to treat sleep apnea

Many people wear a CPAP machine at night to treat the interrupted breathing of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that affects an estimated 22 million Americans. But CPAP machines can be noisy, cumbersome and uncomfortable, and many people stop using the devices altogether, which can have dire long-term consequences.

Mouth guards may be a more comfortable and easy-to-use alternative for many people with obstructive sleep apnea, according to a new report. The study, published in Laryngoscope, looked at 347 people with sleep apnea who were fitted with a mouth guard by an otolaryngologist. Two-thirds of patients reported they were comfortable wearing the devices, and the devices appeared to be effective in helping to relieve the disordered breathing of obstructive sleep apnea.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Guillaume Buiret, head of otolaryngology at Valence Hospital in Valence, France, said that if he had sleep apnea, he would choose an oral appliance first.

“It’s easy to tolerate, effective and it costs a lot less than CPAP,” he said. “Thirty to 40 percent of our patients can’t use CPAP, and these patients almost always find the dental appliance helpful. I would recommend it as a first-line treatment”

Loud snoring may be the most obvious consequence of sleep apnea, but the condition, if left untreated, can lead to a broad range of complications, including high blood pressure, heart disease, liver dysfunction and Type 2 diabetes.

The problem develops when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway. This leads to breathing cessation for brief periods, gasping for air, difficulty staying asleep, and all the problems of daytime sleepiness, from poor job performance to fatal accidents. Animals can have it too — bulldogs, for example, have a narrow airway and a soft palate that can easily block it. Their sleep apnea is almost identical to the human version.

The severity of the condition varies widely from a very mild problem that may need no treatment at all to severe or even life-threatening disease. Dr. Sara E. Benjamin, a neurologist and sleep specialist at Johns Hopkins, said that spending a night in a sleep laboratory monitored by a technician is the best way to diagnose apnea. A lab study offers the most thorough analysis, and can detect many other sleep problems besides apnea, but there are home test kits that are easy to use and cost-effective. They test breathing effort and oxygen levels, but not the brain waves, muscle tone and leg movements that a lab test records.

How can you know that you need a sleep assessment? “It’s a low standard to get evaluated, either by home testing or in a sleep lab,” Dr. Benjamin said. “If a person feels sleep problems are impacting daily activities, that’s enough to go and get evaluated. If the cause is a breathing problem, you don’t want to ignore it.”

A CPAP — continuous positive airway pressure — machine is usually the first option for treating sleep apnea. The device has a motor that delivers pressurized air through a tube attached to a mask that covers the nose, or both the nose and the mouth. This keeps the airway open. Some machines can automatically change the pressure to compensate for changes in sleep position; others require manual adjustment. Headgear varies, but all have adjustable straps to get the right fit. There are newer models that can deliver heated or humidified air, depending on the patient’s preferences, and there are small travel models as well.

“We recommend a custom device made by a dentist,” Dr. Benjamin said. “And you should be retested to see how well it’s working. There’s subjective and objective improvement that should be tracked.”

But there are people for whom neither CPAP nor dental appliances work, either because they cannot use them consistently or correctly, or because the devices themselves do not solve the problem even when used properly. For these patients, there are various effective surgical procedures.

The most common is soft tissue surgery, which involves modifying or excising tissue at the back of the mouth. Depending on the structures and musculature of the mouth, the surgeon can trim the soft palate and the uvula, remove the tonsils, shrink tissues with a heated instrument, straighten a deviated septum, or alter the position of the tongue muscles, all with the aim of improving air flow.
White plastic mouth guard for Obstructive Sleep Apnea by O2Vent Optima

There are also bone surgeries that move the jaw forward to make the entire breathing space larger, a procedure that can involve a protracted recovery period.

In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration approved a device called Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation. This is a small appliance implanted under the skin like a heart pacemaker. Using two electrical leads, it senses the breathing pattern and stimulates the nerve that controls the tongue to move it out of the way and allow air to pass freely. Implanting it is a day surgery procedure that takes about two hours.

“It doesn’t change the anatomy, and recovery is easier than with other surgeries,” said Dr. Maria V. Suurna, an associate professor of otolaryngology at Weill Cornell Medicine who specializes in surgery for sleep apnea. “It’s effective. It has the lowest complication rate of all the surgeries.

“But it’s not for everyone. It’s approved only for adults 18 and older who are not overweight and who have moderate to severe apnea.” Some people may be ineligible because of the structure of their anatomy.

“Surgery is tricky,” Dr. Suurna said. “But there’s no ideal treatment for apnea. Each has pros and cons, benefits and risks.”

What do insurance companies consider oral appliance for sleep apnea?

What do insurance companies consider oral appliance for sleep apnea?

Suffering from sleep apnea can not only disrupt your sleep, but it can be a serious health problem. This is why it’s important to get diagnosed so that you can get the treatment you need. One of the treatments that many people choose is an oral appliance. For many, this is much easier to use than some other available therapy options.

But, as with many medical treatments, the cost can be an issue. Although you have health insurance, many people still wonder, what do insurance companies consider oral appliance for sleep apnea? Let’s answer that question and look at some of the issues surrounding sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, this means you pause when you’re breathing during sleep, or there is a reduction in your breathing. If someone stops breathing completely or takes less than 10% of a normal breath for ten seconds or more, they are experiencing an apnea or obstructive sleep apnoea.  If you are experiencing sleep apnea, you may suddenly wake up or move from a deep sleep to a more shallow sleep.

To determine if you have sleep apnea, a sleep study is generally needed. During a sleep study, sleep patterns are monitored to see if someone stops breathing during the middle of the night and at what frequency. This will help doctors determine if they have sleep apnea and what type. From there, the proper course of sleep apnea treatment can be devised.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Once you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s time to get treatment. Oral appliances are a popular option over using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.  Some people find these cpap therapy machines to be noisy and intrusive.

Oral appliance therapy works to treat sleep apnea by moving the lower jaw forward to open the airway and unblock the windpipe, which can improve breathing and lead to a better night’s sleep. FDA-registered oral devices can be used to treat sleep apnea when they are given by a qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine.  At Sleep Better Columbus, we can help you find the right oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea and get you a better night’s sleep.

Insurance and Oral Appliance Treatment  for Sleep Apnea

Since all insurance companies are different, you’ll need to contact your specific insurance company to make sure that you are covered for an oral appliance for sleep apnea. Generally, plans will at least cover a portion of the cost.

Most health insurance plans consider oral appliances or dental appliances for sleep apnea as a piece of medical equipment. This is why they will cover it. There are more than 100 FDA-approved oral appliances available to help treat sleep apnea. Your insurance may specify the type of oral appliance that they will cover instead of letting the doctor and patient choose. These are things you will need to ask your benefits department.

To get coverage for an oral appliance for sleep apnea, you’ll have to show that you suffer from the condition and not just chronic snoring. A copy of the sleep study and any medical notes from your sleep apnea screening appointment is also necessary. Your medical history will also be considered. Some insurance companies may also require other documentation, so it’s best to ask so that you are prepared.

Of course, for your insurance company to pay for an oral appliance for sleep apnea, it needs to be prescribed by your doctor. The insurance company will need to see that documentation to provide any level of coverage.

Although the equipment goes in your mouth, an oral mouthpiece is treated under your health insurance, not your dental insurance. The device is being used to treat a medical condition, not one that is specific to your dental health. An oral appliance is seen as a piece of medical equipment because it can be used to improve your health.

When people begin using oral appliance treatment for sleep apnea, they can also help to avoid serious health problems such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

If you have a medical history of any of these or a family history of them, it’s important to get treatment for your obstructive sleep apnea as soon as possible.

How Much Do Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea Cost?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many oral devices  for sleep apnea available. Since they are custom-fit to each patient and everyone may choose something different depending on their condition, it’s best to ask your doctor which ones are best for you. From there, you can price them out and get a better idea of the cost.

Once you have an estimate, you can find out how your insurance may cover it. This will also vary depending on your plan. If you have a deductible, this will come into play, as well as if you have any co-insurance. Many times patients do need to pay for a percentage of the cost. But, the exact dollar amount will depend on your insurance coverage.

Contact Us!

When you need an oral appliance to treat obstructive sleep apnea (osa), visit Dr. Mark Levy at Sleep Better Columbus.  Dr. Levy is trained in treating sleep apnea and can recommend dental appliances for sleep that can help. Let Dr. Levy and his dental sleep staff show you the alternative to CPAP machine to improve the quality of your sleep.

The dental sleep medicine staff at Sleep Better Columbus can help you find an oral device for sleep apnea that your insurance will cover so that you can get your obstructive sleep apnea under control. Once you do, you’ll notice you’re getting a better night’s sleep as well as an improved quality of life. When you have your sleep apnea treated, you’ll feel energized and healthy.

Call Sleep Better Columbus today at 614-362-7292 to find out more about oral appliances to treat your sleep apnea.

Columbus Ranked 6th Most Sleep Deprived Large City in US

Columbus Ranked 6th Most Sleep Deprived Large City in US

If you’re reading this article through blurry eyes, you’re not alone. Columbus was recently ranked one of the most sleep deprived cities in the United States by a study from RetailMeNot.

The study looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in which adults reported getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. Additional metrics include statistics on poor mental health and physical health, as a lack of sleep can have a drastic impact on both.

Columbus ended up in 6th place on the list of large cities with a whopping 41.8% of adults reporting getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. The only large cities to rank higher include Detroit (#1 with 51.4% of adults reporting less than seven hours of sleep per night) followed by Cleveland, Memphis, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

“Many facets of modern life contribute to the lack of sleep,” states the RetailMeNot blog post that features the results of the study. “One example is technology, as people spend more time in front of brightly-lit devices that disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythms. But more fundamental patterns of working and living are also at play. Factors like longer commutes and longer working hours in the U.S. workforce may be key reasons why a good night’s rest is harder to come by.”

As a whole, the CDC reports that the United States has a national rate of 36.2% of adults getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, which means that Columbus isn’t that much higher than the national average.

To view the full results of the study, visit www.retailmenot.com.

RELATED: The Future of Sleep

Source: https://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-ranked-6th-most-sleep-deprived-large-city-in-us-we1

Sleep Apnea as a COVID-19 Risk

Sleep Apnea as a COVID-19 Risk

With almost 15 million cases of coronavirus and over 280,000 deaths in the U.S., we have fortunately learned much about COVID-19 prevention measures and treatments since the early days of the pandemic, and a vaccine is now in sight. Most of our knowledge regarding  risk factors for worse outcomes, include immunocompromised status, diabetes, older age and high blood pressure.

One risk factor remains hidden in plain sight: obstructive sleep apnea.

Read more

How Serious is Sleep Apnea?

How Serious is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a seriously dangerous sleep disorder. It’s causing more than 18 million people to be at risk for further health problems as a result. But how serious is sleep apnea? Besides the mind-boggling figure mentioned earlier, what else about this chronic disorder makes is so dangerous?

Those are the questions we are going to answer in this article. We are going to talk about the seriousness of sleep apnea, and how so many go undiagnosed. On top of that, we’re also going to discuss the medical conditions that escalate because of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is ignored because so many aren’t aware of how serious it is. After this article you will have a command and awareness of sleep apnea, knowing exactly what you must do to get help.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing during your sleep. There are 3 types of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, and Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome.

When you compare them to each other the symptoms they cause can overlap. However, there specific differences to be aware of. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by a relaxation of throat muscles that block your upper airway as you sleep. This is the most common.

Up next is Central Sleep Apnea is the lack of communication between the brain and the central nervous system. Because of this disconnection your brain does not receive the signal it needs to stimulate breathing. This is severe.

Lastly, Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome is a mix of both OSA and CSA. This is the most severe because there are two impairments preventing quality sleep to focus on.

What Are Some Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

When sleep is impaired your health and wellness suffer. After all, how can you be happy or do anything safely when you are deprived of quality rest? Here are some symptoms you want to pay attention to.

Difficulty staying focused or paying attention throughout the day.

  1. Difficulty keeping your attention on tasks throughout the day.
  2. Waking up gasping for air from a nap or in the middle of the night.
  3. Difficult time insomnia or sleeping through the night.
  4. Early morning headaches.
  5. Interrupting partners or spouses from their rest because of noisy snoring.
  6. You wake and have excessive dry mouth.
  7. You suffer from hypersomnia (severe tiredness during the day).

The Seriousness of Sleep Apnea

The list above shows 7 reasons sleep apnea can’t be taken lightly. But these symptoms lead to very troublesome medical conditions and lifetime problems if left unchecked. What is even more disturbing is that childhood sleep apnea is on the rise. By you becoming aware of the signs, symptoms, and health concerns sleep apnea causes you may help your son or daughter or someone else’s.

Sleep apnea ranges between mild, moderate, and severe. Often many start out mild, and with proper attention can keep it that way. Keep that in mind when reviewing this list. Because complete neglect is a large reason for the condition worsening.

Chronic Heart Failure

With a sudden lack of oxygen circulated throughout the body from sleep apnea, the heart must work under stress.

It’s forced to pump faster and harder because of pressure build-up.

See, if you don’t breath the circulation cycle is stopped. This causes increased pressure and tissue death from lack of oxygen. On top of that, your blood begins to thicken. Because of carbon-dioxide increase in the blood. This forces your heart to work harder. Ultimately resulting in chronic heart failure.

Stroke

When your heart works harder, and your blood gets thinker blood begins to form. As these clots form, one could block blood flow to your brain. Causing a stroke.

Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have shown that untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea increases your chance of developing or worsening type 2 diabetes. This is because of insulin resistance associated with sleep apnea.

Note: Middle-aged and older men have a high risk of developing central sleep apnea according to the Mayo Clinic.

Innovation

Many of the car accidents and accidents that involve heavy machinery are because of sleep apnea. The daytime drowsiness and the lack of focus just for a split second are all it takes to change your life forever.

But what if there was a way to improve your sleep apnea concerns effortlessly, and without a big clunky CPAP machine blowing air into your stomach. You would be able to wake up refreshed, happy, and prevent all these medical concerns. Many of them haven’t been listed.

As you can see, sleep apnea is a huge problem left untreated. And recent research states that about 80% of the United States is undiagnosed. Drowsy driving is dangerous driving.

Dr. Levy of Sleep Better Columbus created a proven and innovative way to improve your sleep apnea, preventing further health deterioration.

A New Way to Improve Your Sleep Apnea Condition

Improving your health because of your awareness of how serious sleep apnea is must be crystal clear by now. So,let’s switch gears. And give you an alternative way of treating sleep apnea. Some love their CPAP mask and find great comfort in using it.

However, at the offices of Sleep Better Columbus, the Oral Appliance is making waves, and many are finding results when traditional treatment did not work. The oral appliance is much like a mouthpiece, it’s fitted to you, it’s much more comfortable to use, and you don’t need a big machine by the bedside.

It works by position your jaw forward and making your airway free of obstruction. This is an FDA approved medical device. What is fantastic is the compliant rate of use compared to the CPAP. Because of the caring and attentive staff at Sleep Better Columbus, you will receive an oral appliance that is comfortable. They also will follow up to make sure your sleeping patterns and testing improve by using it.

Oral Appliances are for patients suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Central Sleep Apnea involves the nervous system requiring other forms of care and resources used.

In Conclusion

The main question of how serious is sleep apnea can easily be answered… very serious. Not to mention, it’s also very dangerous if left untreated. It’s important going forward you pay attention to how you feel when you wake up. If you snore that is a sign to set and an appointment with the Sleep Better Columbus for a sleep study. The friendly staff will go over all your concerns and can also offer you a way to do your study at home.

 

If you are suffering from any of the other symptoms,it’s recommended you also reach out. Don’t ignore feeling unrested or the comment from your spouse that your snoring is getting worse. You don’t need an accident to happen at work before you get help. If you feel overly tired during the day that is a sign.  Sleep Better Columbus welcomes you to call (614) 362-7292.

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