Snore Experts Inc

Back To Basics…Untreated Sleep Apnea Will Kill You!

Dr. Jonathan Greenburg, DDS
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Expert
February 26, 2014

As a snoring and sleep apnea expert, I am constantly asked to explore the “what ifs” associated with snoring, sleep apnea, and poor sleep in general; however, I wanted to get back to basics for a moment and make something perfectly clear…untreated sleep apnea will kill you.

Did you know that 80% of all cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed? And that untreated, sleep apnea can lead to death? Not to sound any false alarms, but a problem such as this, that many people consider to be a mild to moderate nuisance (unless, of course you sleep with a snorer!), can be a problem that threatens your life. While total number of deaths due to sleep apnea thought to be related to it are hard to come by, research cited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to:

  • Cancer, an increase in risk more than 4 times
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Higher rate of death due to heart disease
  • Heart Attacks
  • Diabetes due to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance
  • Impaired concentration
  • Falling asleep at work or behind the wheel of your car
  • Mood changes
  • Gastric Reflux (GERD)
  • Increased risk of being involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident
  • Weight gain and the inability to lose weight

Yes, it’s much more serious than you think.

With potential health complications such as increased risk of stroke and higher rate of death due to heart disease, my team and I thought it would be important to give more information on this widely misunderstood medical condition.

So what exactly is sleep apnea?

Many of us have heard the term, used it in passing, but may not fully understand what sleep apnea actually means. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine defines sleep apnea as a “sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe…It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing the tongue and soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway.”

In simple terms, your throat is like the fuel line to your car. If the fuel line to your car closes partially or completely, how well does your car run if at all? Well, Snoring is a partial blockage of your body’s fuel line while sleep apnea is a complete blockage.

In other words, as your body rests and you attempt to sleep, something is blocking your airway. That something in most cases is your tongue but could also be a buildup of fatty tissue, excess weight or other problems. Whatever the reason, this blockage causes you, the sleeper, to stop breathing up to 10-30 seconds at a time, and in some cases for 1 minute or longer.

Take the case of former Argos coach Joe Hay* who died in his sleep, ostensibly from sleep apnea. Joe Hay was a California varsity football head coach who wore a CPAP machine and mask nightly to deal with his sleep apnea problem (CPAP machines are one of the most common treatment options for the treatment of Sleep Apnea). Joe was a 41-year-old man, in apparently otherwise perfect health that had no other ongoing health issues. Normally he wore the CPAP machine to sleep, but did not wear it on the night in question. The next morning, Joe’s wife, said she found her husband in the bed not breathing. He did not wake up. It is obvious why cases like this make professionals very concerned about public awareness of this issue, its growing trend and the need for better treatment options such as Hybrid oral appliances that are more comfortable and have a higher compliance rate than the CPAP machines.

We know that with today’s busy lifestyle it is very easy to forgo needed rest in order to achieve, go and do. It is important though, to remember balance and listen to your body.

Other Reasons Why You Should Take Sleep Apnea Seriously

Dr. Neomi Shah and colleagues at Yale University found that “having sleep apnea for four or five years raises a person’s risk of having a heart attack or dying by 30%.”

To come to these conclusions, Dr. Shah’s study followed approximately 1,123 patients evaluated for sleep apnea. More than 500 of these patients had 15 or more low-oxygen events (meaning patients’ oxygen intake was lowered significantly due to sleep apnea) per hour of sleep.

According to Dr. Shah’s findings, after adjusting for other heart risk factors, “these patients were 30% more likely to have a heart attack or die over a four-and-a-half year period. The more severe the sleep apnea, the higher the risk of heart attack or death.”

Something far more serious than just the aggravation and inconvenience of snoring – lack of attention to snoring and signs of sleep apnea can kill you; it’s that simple.

If you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, take care and go to your doctor or your healthcare professional to be diagnosed. My team and I have devoted our lives to saving yours through awareness and advanced technology. Whether it’s a traditional CPAP machine or the latest development in Hybrid Oral Appliances, there is a solution for everyone. It might just save your life.

– Dr. Greenburg

References:

*http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/preps/post/_/id/14616/former-garden-grove-coach-joe-hay-dies-at-41

Sleep Apnea Goes To The Super Bowl…And Virtually Every Other Sporting Event

Dr. Jonathan Greenburg, DDS
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Expert
February 6, 2014

Whether you are a Seahawks fan, a Broncos fan, or just love Bruno Mars, record numbers of people tuned into Super bowl 48. While you were watching these modern-day gladiators do battle, did it occur to you that while these guys are at peak physical condition, many of them have a dramatically shortened life expectancy? Shockingly low depending on which study you follow; however, the fact that there isn’t more being done to improve professional athletes’ quality of life after they stop playing is tragic. Undiagnosed sleep apnea is at the core of their shortened life expectancy in my opinion and something needs to be done. It is our duty as snoring and sleep apnea experts to spread the word but we need help…we need your help.

Thanks to ESPN and TMZ, we are fully aware that professional athletes and celebrities have problems, don’t always live the optimal life, are not always in impossibly great shape and may suffer from health-related problems—like sleep apnea. Yep, it’s true. Some of your favorite stars and athletes, whom we revere, and think of as always having the absolute best, with the world’s finest doctors on speed dial, don’t always have it all!

Dr. Greenburg, Are You Pulling My Leg? Tell Me More…….

Seriously, we don’t pull legs around here. For those of us who don’t know what sleep apnea is and why it’s a problem that deserves your serious attention, obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a condition where you essentially stop breathing for short periods of time while you sleep during the night. According to the American Association of Sleep Medicine, sleep apnea “occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway. This leads to partial reductions (hypopneas) and complete pauses (apneas) in breathing that last at least 10 seconds during sleep.” In some instances of sleep apnea you can stop breathing for 1 minute or more. What?! No it’s not marketing hype, it’s all true, and left untreated, sleep apnea could take your life.

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed And Could I Be Affected?

Yes, sleep apnea can happen to you and the person you share a bed with. But before you go self-diagnosing with Physician’s Desk Reference in tow, the condition is diagnosed in a doctor’s office. Please understand that. Although if you’re a big snorer, your bed partner can probably tell you better than you can, that you have a problem. It’s best to get it checked out.

Yes, Yes All That’s Wonderful But I Wanna Hear The Dirt On My Favorite Athlete……..Dish The Dirt.

Pardon us. Well, according to Dr. Archie Roberts, a doctor whom since 2003, has screened more than 1,200 retired athletes across the nation, notes certain types of athletes are more at risk than others for sleep apnea and sleep-related problems. Who, you ask???? Well those who play football, and in particular, linemen, wrestlers and sumo wrestlers are the most likely candidates to suffer from sleep apnea. And that makes sense if you consider a segment of the typical profile of those most likely to get it—people who are overweight (Body Mass Index of 25 to 29.9) and obese (Body Mass Index of 30 and above) and men and women with large neck sizes: 17 inches or more for men, 16 inches or more for women. Of course there are other risk factors, such as smoking and genetics, but when you consider athletes who have large neck sizes or by medical standards are considered overweight, this makes sense.

According to Dr. Roberts, linemen are the “big guys,” with necks typically greater than 17 inches. They, then, are most susceptible to sleep apnea.

Consider the story of legendary football defensive star Reggie White. Reggie White was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and an ordained minister, known as the “Minister of Defense.” Reggie played a total of 15 years with Philadelphia (1985-92), Green Bay (1993-98), and Carolina (2000).

He retired after the 2000 season as the NFL’s all-time leader in sacks with 198 in his record.

But in 2004, Reggie White died suddenly at the age of 43, and it was believed to be related to untreated sleep apnea. According to family spokesperson Keith Johnson, White wasn’t a sick man. He was in good health and had lots of energy.

If it can happen to Reggie White, it can happen to you.

In fact, many of us were blown away by the almost superhuman speed and overall performance of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin during the Super Bowl, would you ever have imagined that he struggled with health issues for most of his life? More to the point, would you ever have believed that according to him, his lifelong battle with debilitating migraine headaches ended when he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and properly treated? According to this ESPN interview, he is medication free and the key to his optimal health and overwhelming success was recognizing and treating his sleep apnea. Yet another reason why we as professionals need to raise awareness; Harvin runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and he nearly lost his battle with sleep apnea; sleep apnea can take anyone down…rookies of the year, all-pro linemen, doctors, teachers, laborers, stay-at-home moms, etc.

Like basketball? Rumor has it……….. that basketball giant Shaquille O’Neal “Shaq” met with Dr. Charles Czeisler, director of the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, to attack his sleep apnea problem. At 7’1” and an estimated 325 pounds, Shaq certainly fits the profile. After hearing him snore off and on and then suddenly seem to stop breathing one too many nights in bed, Shaq’s girlfriend made him go see a doctor.

The moral of the story? If you love someone and suspect they have a sleep apnea problem, say something!

Some Others You Might Not Know Who’ve Either Been Diagnosed With Sleep Apnea Or Treated For It:

JaMarcus Russell, NFL Player

Stu Voigt, former Minnesota Vikings great, who now wears an oral appliance and says he wishes he had been correctly diagnosed with sleep apnea when he was a professional player. Now, he says, he’s not so tired.

Former Syracuse University star Kevin Mitchell–3-time All Big East Conference nose guard who went on to win a Super Bowl championship as a linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers. He died at the age of 36. According to reports, the cause of his death was unclear, although sleep apnea was strongly suspected.

Wrestler Ted Petty (“Flyboy” Rocco Rock) (who died in 2002).

What Can I Do?

Glad you asked! Education AND early diagnosis are key in our estimation. Think you have sleep apnea? Don’t take a chance. Go to your doctor. Get tested. Please. We need to look out for each other and take responsibility for the simple changes we can make that will not only improve our quality of life, but also keep us alive! I have devoted my life to raising awareness about and treating people (and families) struggling with snoring and sleep apnea; with your help, we can raise awareness and save lives. If stars can admit their faults and failings and open up about potentially deadly health problems, so should you. Your life, or the life of someone you love, could depend on it.

-Dr. Greenburg

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Source: aasmnet.org, Sleepreviewmag.com

PRWeb.com: “Former Vikings Players Tackle Sleep Apnea at Upcoming Minneapolis Event–Former Minneapolis Vikings players are coming together to tackle sleep apnea”

Hybrid Oral Appliance Therapy Advances Sleep Apnea Treatment

Dr. Jonathan Greenburg, DDS
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Expert
January 28, 2014

Hybrid Oral Appliances represent the latest advancement in treating patients who cannot tolerate a CPAP machine or have mild to moderate Sleep Apnea. Unlike their predecessors that only advance the jaw, Hybrid Oral Appliances combine mandibular advancement with advanced technology to open the airway by stabilizing the tongue.

While countless patients have had success with Hybrid Oral Appliance therapy, the most important step anyone can take is to get tested for Sleep Apnea. Perhaps you don’t tell your partner about their snoring or you even sleep alone because you’re embarrassed about your own snoring but make no mistake, Second Hand Snoring impacts the entire family and untreated Sleep Apnea is life threatening.

Did you know that it has been estimated that between 30-50% of Americans snore at one time or another? Now, let’s be clear, snoring does not automatically mean you have Sleep Apnea, but generally speaking, there may be a connection, something worth checking out. Snoring can be caused by a variety of factors, not the least of which is being overweight (With America’s ever-expanding waistline, there is definitely a link here.) and Second Hand Snoring is a very real phenomenon we discovered by treating thousands of patients and learning that one snorer regularly impacts the quality of sleep for those nearby. Like second hand smoke, Second Hand Snoring is a very real concern for snorers and the people that live with them.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder that causes a person to temporarily stop breathing while they’re sleeping. “It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway. This leads to pauses in breathing that last at least 10 seconds during sleep. Most pauses last between 10 and 30 seconds, but some may persist for one minute or longer.” (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)

Sleep Apnea can affect anyone at any time. And about 80 percent to 90 percent of adults with OSA remain undiagnosed. Do you see now why it’s important to warn loved ones if they’re snorers? Is snoring is a nuisance? Yes. Can it ruin your love life? Maybe. Does it drive families crazy? Yes. But it also may be a sign of something more serious. While the total number of deaths due to or thought to be related to Sleep Apnea are hard to come by, research cited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that left untreated, Sleep Apnea can lead to:

  • Cancer, an increase in risk more than 4 times
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Higher rate of death due to heart disease
  • Heart Attacks
  • Diabetes due to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance
  • Impaired concentration
  • Falling asleep at work or behind the wheel of your car
  • Mood changes
  • Gastric Reflux (GERD)
  • Increased risk of being involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident
  • Weight gain and the inability to lose weight

Yes, it’s much more serious than you think.

The good news is that both snoring and Sleep Apnea are very treatable with Hybrid Oral Appliance therapy and that has helped more people want to seek treatment and a better quality of life. Your entire family will benefit as long as you get tested and treated by a reputable Sleep Apnea Specialist.

There is hope and proper testing and treatment has transformed entire families; however, it starts with a simple test. Get tested today by a Sleep Apnea Specialist and sleep better tonight.

– Dr. Greenburg