Posted on Monday, April 4th, 2016 at 4:48 pm
As a dentist who operates a practice dedicated to helping patients treat sleep apnea, the fact that an unplugged CPAP machine was found in Justice Scalia’s hotel room the morning he died is intriguing.
While the dust has settled a bit and the political pundits in Washington are arguing over who should nominate the next Supreme Court Justice, what we’re really left to ponder: was Justice Scalia’s sleep apnea a contributing factor in his death?
We’re not writing this to stir up any conspiracy theories; far from it. After all, it’s well documented that Justice Scalia suffered from a variety of heart and blood pressure related health issues. So a 79-year-old man dying in his sleep with his medical history isn’t that uncommon.
In actuality, there’s no way for us to know at this point whether sleep apnea played a direct role in Justice Scalia’s death or not, but it is important that individuals who suffer from sleep apnea (whether diagnosed or undiagnosed) understand the risks associated with not following their treatment protocol.
Why we recommend oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea sufferers
Oral appliance therapy and CPAP are both effective ways to treat sleep apnea, but Justice Scalia’s unplugged CPAP machine raises a common issue with that form of treatment— patient compliance.
In order for either oral appliance therapy or CPAP to work correctly, a patient must comply with all facets of their treatment protocol. With CPAP, this involves sleeping with a loud, bulky machine at night. With an oral appliance from our dental office however, it simply involves wearing a device to bed each night that fits much like a mouthguard.
Don’t skip your treatment
Unless you have clearance from your doctor or medical professional, it’s important that you comply 100% with your treatment protocol, as just a few nights of untreated sleep apnea can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, and cause you to wake up gasping for air in the middle of the night.
If you’re traveling, an oral appliance is much easier to take with you than a CPAP machine, which is yet another reason many patients prefer a dental appliance to CPAP.
If you’ve experienced obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, seek treatment
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is much more serious than just loud snoring; you actually stop breathing while you sleep. This can lead to a variety of short-term and long-term side effects, many of which can be prevented by effective sleep apnea treatment.
Maybe you’ve considered treatment before, but didn’t want to wear a bulky CPAP mask along with a loud machine. Luckily for you, there’s a better alternative, and it’s available right here at our offices (Great South Bay and Gateway Plaza). If you’re anywhere on the South Shore of Long Island and would like to discuss your sleep apnea treatment options, give our office a call today or contact us here to schedule your appointment.