We all remember that bright star and following rainbow that would dance across our screens, and interrupt our cartoons, when a public service announcement was played on NBC. Even now as adults we probably sing the little jingle in our head when we learn something new. Education is a positive experience, no matter what you’re learning about. People are starting to be more proactive about their health and are genuinely interested in finding out the reasons why something is happening to them. This leads to increased visits to their medical professionals and a Google search engine that is nearing the point of exhaustion.
You should never be ashamed to want to learn more about your health; especially if you suspect you may suffer from sleep disorders. These conditions are not widely discussed and often people who snore are used to demonstrate a joke or poked for a good laugh. Your health is a serious matter and you should never be ashamed to learn more about it:
Sleep-disordered breathing is a problem that should not be taken lightly. In addition to leaving you feeling groggy during the day, untreated sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea can lead to several other health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Effective treatments such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy and oral appliance therapy are available to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat during sleep, blocking the upper airway. The traditional treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, which consists of wearing a mask hooked up to a constantly-running machine that provides air to patients while they sleep, helping to keep the airway open. Patients can find the treatment to be uncomfortable and cumbersome, and up to 50 percent of patients do not continue to use CPAP treatment long-term.
An alternative to this treatment is oral appliance therapy. Custom-fit by a dentist knowledgeable in dental sleep medicine, this treatment – which uses a mouth-guard like device to hold the jaw forward and keep the airway open – is easy to use and quieter than CPAP.
Getting in the Head of a Snorer
Researchers are finding that a major obstacle to treating sleep apnea actually lies in the mind – and not the bed – of the patient. In a new study presented in June at the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine's (AADSM) 25th Anniversary Meeting, researchers discovered that a key to helping patients adhere to their sleep apnea treatment plan could lie in convincing the patient of the real and long-term effects of the disease if left untreated.
The study from Columbia University asked 80 people if they adhere to their oral appliance therapy. Fifty-eight patients responded that they are adherent to treatment, and 22 responded that they no longer use their oral appliance. Of these 22 respondents, 10 were not using any treatment at all.
It’s about time we stopped laughing at Uncle Jeff who snores so loudly on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner he rattles the windows. He may be suffering from a serious health condition which could lead to even more serious complications. No one wants their loved ones to be ill or to suffer. It’s important to learn about sleep disorders, their causes, and what you can do to combat them. The more people that are educated the more information can be shared and potential risks identified.