Sleep apnea has been rising in prevalence with an estimated 25 million adults in the United States living with the condition as of 2014. The condition has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, as well as dementia. Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has called for two commuter railroad companies to test all conductors and engineers for sleep apnea. This is in part due to a fatal accident back in 2013 where an engineer with undiagnosed sleep apnea fell asleep at the controls killing four people and injuring dozens more.
Why New York Should Test For Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is much more than a simple sleep condition. This disease is actually obstructs airflow periodically while you are sleeping. This constant change in airflow causes patients to jump awake at night and can make restful sleep nearly impossible. Clearly this makes staying awake during the day nearly impossible and can lead to dangerous and fatal accidents such as the commuter railroad accident back in 2013.
There are other benefits to treating sleep apnea than just sleeping better at night. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most commonly found form of sleep apnea, is typically found in overweight patients which is why so many OSA patients also deal with conditions such as fatty liver disease. Many sleep apnea tests examine body weight, blood pressure, neck circumference, as well as tongue and uvula size. Often OSA symptoms can be alleviated through diet and exercise which helps improve your overall health and wellness.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
While Dr. Matthews cannot diagnose you with sleep apnea, he can help fit you for a dental appliance after you have been diagnosed by a sleep specialist. While CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) has been the gold standard for treating sleep apnea for many years, the machines can often be cumbersome and are not ideal for patients who do a lot of traveling or are dealing with conditions such as PTSD. Dental appliances, on the other hand, work by positioning your jaw so that there is no blockage of airflow while you sleep. They are similar in size to a mouth guard, and much more portable and easier to use than even the smallest CPAP devices as a result.
Whether you decide to use a CPAP device or a dental appliance, it is important that you get treatment if you are experiencing common symptoms of sleep apnea such as consistent loud snoring, daytime drowsiness, and choking during your sleep. If you decide that you would prefer to use a dental appliance and live in the Austin area, Dr. Matthews of Dan Matthews, DDS can help size you for your new dental appliance. Give us a call at (512) 520-0606 to schedule an appointment today.