Patients With Generalized Epilepsy May Be at Higher Risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Patients With Generalized Epilepsy May Be at Higher Risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Patients With Generalized Epilepsy May Be at Higher Risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 at 12:53 am    

Researchers have discovered a connection between epilepsy and obstructive sleep apnea, also referred to as OSA. A 2018 article from Practical Neurology explains this connection. The authors of the article, Michelle L. Dougherty, MD and Karin G. Johnson, MD, argue that epilepsy can affect sleep apnea and that the converse is true as well.

Dougherty and Johnson wrote in the article that epileptic seizures can disrupt a person’s sleep habits. Additionally, anti-seizure medications may also diminish the possibility of healthy sleep. This is because some of these medications are muscle relaxants, which can impact the upper airway. And other medicines cause weight gain; obesity is a contributing factor to OSA.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when your upper respiratory structure repeatedly collapses during sleep. This causes repetitive disrupted sleep, snoring, trouble breathing, and the inability to deliver oxygen to the brain. Sleep apnea often leaves the patient feeling groggy the next morning and foggy throughout the day.

An article from Neurology Today argues that people with generalized epilepsy are often at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea than people with focal epilepsy, which is characterized by seizures that affect one part of the brain. The article also states that people with epilepsy and undiagnosed sleep apnea are at a higher risk of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Matthew T. Scharf, MD, Ph.D., one of the doctors who authored the study, said epilepsy patients should always be screened for sleep disorders.

Despite the studies, doctors are still not sure how exactly epilepsy affects sleep apnea and, conversely, how sleep apnea affects epilepsy. However, they have uncovered sufficient evidence to connect the two, and now many doctors advocate for more sleep disorder screenings in people with epilepsy.

Make an Appointment With Silent Night Therapy

If you have epilepsy and believe you should be screened for a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, please do not hesitate to reach out to Silent Night Therapy. Our sleep specialists have the tools and expertise to diagnose your sleep problems and help find practical solutions that fit your lifestyle. If you prefer to do an at-home sleep study, we can provide you with a kit mailed straight to your door. Please give us a call at (631) 983-2463 or contact us online.


The Effects of Oxygen Inhalation and Sleep Apnea 

Posted on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019 at 4:44 am    

An estimated 50% of all people will have an issue with snoring at some point during their lives. Snoring can become more prevalent as you get older, and is typically more common in men (40 percent of the population). However, 24 percent of women are also habitual snorers. For the most part, mild snoring—though potentially annoying to your spouse of partner—is harmless, but it can be a symptom of a far larger problem: obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when an individual temporarily stops breathing while asleep and can happen between four and 30 times every hour depending on the individual.

For men, heavy snoring and sleep apnea may put them at an increased risk of hypertension, angina, stroke, and neuropsychologic dysfunction.

One method of treating sleep apnea is nocturnal oxygen therapy. In theory, nocturnal oxygen therapy should be beneficial by improving oxygenation and relievint tissue hypoxia, however, the results have been mixed, and in some cases oxygen may be harmful to your health.

Theory vs. Reality

The idea of giving patients suffering from sleep apnea oxygen during the night seems logical on the surface. Repeated pauses in breathing lowers oxygen levels in the blood during the night; thereby, giving the patient supplemental oxygen through a plastic tubing called a nasal cannula should stabilize oxygen levels and decrease the risk of future medical problems that are common in people with severe sleep apnea.

Unfortunately, supplemental oxygen has mixed, and in some cases, dangerous results. While the oxygen level in the blood does improve, the effect on the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) has been found to be negligible and severe drowsiness during the daytime—a common side effect of sleep apnea—doesn’t improve. Additionally, supplemental oxygen doesn’t target the high and dangerous levels of excess carbon dioxide that form during the night.

There are instances where supplemental oxygen is beneficial. Individuals suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) like emphysema without also suffering from sleep apnea have benefited from oxygen during the night. But when oxygen is used without relieving the airway obstruction that so often causes heavy snoring and sleep apnea, carbon dioxide levels increase resulting in patients waking up feeling confused or with serious headaches.

Sleep apnea is often caused by the collapse of tissues of the upper airway partially or even completely closing the throat. If this isn’t treated through bilevel therapy or in some cases surgery, oxygen will not reach the lungs.

Contact the Sleep Experts at Silent Night Therapy Today

If you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, be sure to seek treatment right away and get a better night’s sleep. Dr. Brown and the OSA team are here to help those with a history of snoring, who have obstructive sleep apnea, and those who can’t tolerate wearing a CPAP. Our team can diagnose and treat your sleep apnea with the use of effective oral appliances. Call us at (631) 983-2463 to schedule a consultation with us today.


OSA and Driving – What Could Happen?

Posted on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 at 1:15 am    

Most people understand that driving while tired is not a good plan. You have slower reaction times, reduced attention span, and, if you actually fall asleep at the wheel, your chances of crashing become exceedingly high. However, among all the other forms of distracted or reckless driving behaviors, drowsy driving is one of the least discussed and prevented. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 168 million people admit to driving while drowsy and 103 million people admit to falling asleep at the wheel. Police reports estimate that 100,000 car accidents are caused by drowsy drivers each year. These statistics are shocking and indicate a serious problem across the country that is very difficult to address. Even if you try to get an adequate amount of sleep each night so that you can drive well-rested the next day, this effort may not be enough if you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

The OSA team at Silent Night Therapy understands the damaging effects that obstructive sleep apnea can have on your life. That is why they are dedicated to diagnosing and treating individuals in the New York area, who struggle with sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. They are ready to help you get a better night’s sleep so that you can stay safe while driving and increase your overall quality of life.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When you are suffering from OSA, you are unable to get a restful night’s sleep due to disordered breathing. This condition causes your breathing to become shallow or even stop while you are asleep, and may occur multiple times throughout the night. OSA does not only disrupt your sleep but if left untreated it can prevent oxygen from reaching your organs or cause an irregular heartbeat. Typically, those suffering from OSA do not remember their irregular breathing but suffer from symptoms such as:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Impotence
  • Restless sleeping
  • Dry mouth when you wake up
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headaches

OSA may make it difficult for you to complete daily tasks, such as driving, because you are unable to sleep enough or sleep well each night. If you are unaware that you have sleep apnea, it is more likely that you are driving drowsy and may fall asleep at the wheel. This puts both you and your loved ones at risk while you are on the road.

If you or a loved or believe you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, a consultation with a sleep therapist can help. Dr. Clifford Brown at Silent Night Therapy is prepared to help you understand and treat sleep disordered breathing. He specializes in dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy and is ready to find the right solution for you. To learn more about OSA or to set up an appointment, call Silent Night Therapy at (631) 983-2463, today.