Long-Term Health Issues from Untreated Sleep Apnea

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Long-Term Health Issues from Untreated Sleep Apnea

Long-Term Health Issues from Untreated Sleep Apnea

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2022 at 4:28 am    

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a patient to stop breathing while they sleep. Pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Snoring is a common symptom associated with sleep apnea. Many patients living with sleep apnea experience feelings of tiredness during the day due to disruptions in their sleep. However, other long-term health issues can arise in patients who fail to treat their sleep apnea, from heart disease to diabetes.

Let’s look at some severe health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea and how using an oral appliance can help mitigate those risks.

Potential Health Risks Caused by Sleep Apnea

A broad range of health issues have been linked back to sleep apnea. Some of the most common include:

  • Heart problems – Sleep apnea can increase your blood pressure, leading to heart problems like arrhythmia and heart failure. Sleep apnea was attributed to Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher’s cause of death after she suffered a heart attack in late 2016.
  • Liver problems – Patients with untreated sleep apnea may experience liver problems like scarring, abnormal levels of liver enzymes, and fatty liver disease.
  • Gastrointestinal issues – Patients living with sleep apnea are more likely to experience heartburn and symptoms of GERD (acid reflux), which can also disrupt sleep.
  • Asthma – Sleep apnea can make asthma worse and cause other breathing problems. You may feel out of breath or fatigued after completing a strenuous activity such as exercising.
  • Diabetes – People with sleep apnea sometimes develop insulin resistance, leading to Type 2 diabetes.
  • Psychological issues – Sleep disruptions caused by sleep apnea can lead to mental fogginess and memory loss.
  • Lowered libido – Long-term untreated sleep apnea can contribute to erectile dysfunction and decrease sexual desire.
  • Weakened immune system – Failing to regularly get a good night’s sleep due to sleep apnea can lead to a weakened immune system, which can leave you vulnerable to other illnesses and conditions.

Other potential long-term health complications associated with failing to treat sleep apnea include obesity, metabolic syndrome, higher cholesterol levels, headaches, irritability, stroke, and even death.

How Using an Oral Appliance Can Help

Some sleep apnea patients turn to CPAP machines to help them breathe at night. However, these machines are loud, bulky, uncomfortable, and require electricity to work. There are also health risks resulting from improper maintenance of CPAP devices, which have to be regularly cleaned. And in 2021, the FDA recalled millions of CPAP devices manufactured by Philips Respironics due to carcinogenic chemicals found in the device’s sound abatement foam, which can break down over time.

At Silent Night Therapy, we offer an alternative, non-invasive solution: oral appliance therapy. Our custom-fit oral appliances gently guide the jaw forward to prevent obstructions in your airway. They are as effective at treating sleep apnea as any CPAP machine, but without the noise, inconvenience, and health hazards associated with those devices.

Contact Us

Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? If so, contact Silent Night Therapy on Long Island to schedule a consultation with Dr. Clifford Brown. Dr. Brown has extensive experience helping patients treat their sleep apnea through oral appliances, and was one of the first sleep practitioners on Long Island to provide this affordable alternative solution. Call us by phone at (631) 983-2463 or reach out to us online.


Why CPAPs Are Not Always the Best Solution

Posted on Sunday, April 10th, 2022 at 4:21 am    

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you might be considering a CPAP device to help you breathe normally while sleeping. While CPAPs have long been a popular treatment for patients living with sleep apnea, they aren’t always the best solution for treating sleep disorders. Here, we will discuss how CPAP machines work and why many CPAP users eventually stop using them, or in other terms, become non-compliant. 

What is a CPAP Device?

A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device works by delivering a constant stream of pressurized air to a patient while they sleep. It is designed to prevent obstructions in the air passages that might cause disruptions in a patient’s breathing. The device typically consists of a mask covering the nose and mouth, a hose, and a compressor. 

Why Many CPAP Users Become Non-Compliant

Millions of Americans have used CPAP devices to treat obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. However, CPAP machines also have a high rate of non-compliance. Research has shown that up to 83 percent of CPAP users are ultimately non-adherent. 

Why is it that so many patients cannot use CPAP machines effectively? Here are some of the common reasons: 

  • Noise and bulkiness – CPAP machines have a motor that generates pressurized air. The noise from the compressor can interfere with sleep, and the bulkiness of the CPAP mask can make it challenging to get into a comfortable resting position. Because CPAP devices need electricity to run, traveling can also become an issue if there are no outlets near the patient’s bed. 
  • Health risks – Failing to clean a CPAP device regularly can lead to mold and mildew developing inside the hose or mask. Inhaling mold, mildew, and other allergens can harm a patient’s health. CPAP devices can also worsen sinus conditions and cause recurring bacterial infections like strep throat if they aren’t well-maintained. Additionally, the FDA recently recalled millions of CPAP devices manufactured by Philips Respironics due to issues with the sound abatement foam used in the device. Safety tests found that the sound abatement foam could break down over time, causing foam particles to travel into a patient’s airway. Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients who allege that they developed cancer and other illnesses due to ingesting the toxic chemicals contained in the foam particles. 
  • Skin issues – When used as recommended, obstructive sleep apnea patients often wear their CPAP mask for up to 7 to 8 hours every night. This can lead the patient to develop skin irritations, rashes, and other issues, particularly if dust and debris have been allowed to accumulate inside the mask. 

If you have had issues using a CPAP device to treat obstructive sleep apnea or find that you are non-compliant, viable alternative solutions are available. 

Why Choose Oral Appliance Therapy?

At Silent Night Therapy, we help obstructive sleep apnea patients treat their condition using an oral appliance. Our travel-friendly oral appliances are specifically designed to prevent obstructions during sleep without the need for a bulky mask and loud compressor. Oral appliances work by shifting the jaw slightly forward during sleep, which keeps the airway open and allows oxygen to flow freely into the lungs. 

If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, contact Silent Night Therapy in Long Island to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clifford Brown. Call us at 631-983-2463 today.

 


What You Should Know About Weighted Blankets and Your Sleep

Posted on Monday, April 4th, 2022 at 4:31 am    

What You Should Know About Weighted Blankets and Your Sleep

Sleep disorders are a serious health challenge that can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Getting proper sleep is necessary to promote optimal functioning of both your mind and body. A chronic lack of quality sleep can increase your risk for several different diseases, including heart disease, obesity, and anxiety.

There are a variety of treatment options for sleep apnea, from medicines, therapies, natural remedies, and even weighted blankets. 

Benefits of Using a Weighted Blanket to Sleep

A weighted blanket is designed to be heavier than a normal blanket. They can be used on the bed while sleeping or on the couch while you’re relaxing and watching TV or reading a book. For several years, they have been prescribed for children in therapeutic settings before they became more popular with all ages.

There are several benefits to using a weighted blanket. However, if you have obstructive sleep apnea, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to ensure you’re not adding additional resistance to your breathing. 

Benefits Weighted BlanketObstructive sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder that results in a limited amount of oxygen to the brain. When left untreated, it can increase your risk for serious disease and heart attack.

It may be possible to get some of the same benefits by using a weighted blanket from the waist down as you would over your entire body. So, if your healthcare provider wants you to keep a weighted blanket away from your chest, ask about using it on the lower half of your body. 

Weighted blankets can help manage feelings of stress and anxiety and calm the nervous system as they reduce the secretion of cortisol. This stress hormone can cause you to get poor quality sleep. The pressure of a weighted blanket can also positively affect your nervous system by lowering your heart rate and reducing symptoms of anxiety. 

Each of these factors can improve your sleep quality and help you wake up feeling more refreshed. The pressure of a weighted blanket can also increase the production of serotonin to stimulate your body to relax and the production of oxytocin. Both are often referred to as “happy hormones.” 

How Do They Work?

In addition to past research, several studies released in 2020 and 2021 note weighted blankets may offer relief from physical pain and other medical disorders. For example, weighted blankets were an effective option for people who had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, higher levels of anxiety, and insomnia. Another study showed that weighted blankets reduced stress and improved sleep quality in participants over a 6-week period.

The effects of using a weighted blanket may be related to a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation. This technique involves the use of firm, controlled pressure over a large area of the body which is known to induce calm feelings. It’s believed weighted blankets may work for adults in the same way newborns sleep better when they are swaddled tightly. Weighted blankets promote a sense of security and comfort. 

The deep pressure stimulation may also increase levels of melatonin, which is the hormone that helps you sleep. Melatonin is also an essential and powerful antioxidant that helps protect your brain.

What Weight Should I Choose?

Weighted blankets should never be so heavy that you don’t have enough strength and physicality to get the blanket off when necessary. Manufacturers typically recommend that infants and children should not use weighted blankets as they can accidentally trap a child.

Choosing Weighted BlanketThe blankets are usually sold in weights from 7 pounds to 25 pounds. Typically, you could purchase a weighted blanket in twin, full, queen, and king sizes. They are more expensive than a regular comforter, ranging between $100 and $300. 

Adults generally prefer a blanket that is approximately 10% of their body weight. The thickness of the blanket will be dependent on the type of filler used. Some use glass beads, while others use plastic pellets. 

Some weighted blankets are sold with extra filling to increase warmth, while others use a cooler cover material. Whatever your preference, there is likely a weighted blanket to fit your needs.

Call Silent Night Therapy Today for a Complimentary Consultation

If you are ready to evaluate how your current sleep patterns are affecting your overall health, it’s time to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Brown and his team. You don’t have to function with poor-quality sleep or sleep apnea. Quality sleep and the benefits of rest are within reach. All it takes is the right customized solution to address your issues with sleep apnea. Call us today at 631-983-2463 to schedule your complimentary consultation.