How often do you truly feel well rested? Are you getting the beauty sleep you need? Chances are, your answers to these questions are “no.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported: “insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic.” While calling inadequate shut-eye an “epidemic” might seem overly dramatic, this condition can have serious consequences. According to the CDC, sleep deprived people are “more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.” While your dentist might seem like an unlikely professional to help you rest more comfortably and potentially lengthen your longevity, Dr. Stephen J. Gershberg can do just that. Read on to learn more about how.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
What’s causing this widespread sleepiness? The CDC notes that while “sleep insufficiency may be caused by broad scale societal factors such as round-the-clock access to technology and work schedules…sleep disorders such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea also play an important role…notably, snoring is a major indicator of obstructive sleep apnea.” People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) involuntarily stop breathing during sleep because their mouths and soft palates collapse, preventing air from reaching their lungs. ResMed reports: “1 in 5 adults has mild OSA… 9% of middle-aged women and 25% of middle-aged men suffer from OSA.”
OSA Obstructs Your Wellbeing
Breathing is key to life, so sleep apnea can seriously impact your general health. OSA can contribute to or cause the following uncomfortable, unhealthy, and potentially even life-threatening conditions:
- People with OSA often feel inexplicably exhausted and have difficulty going about their daily lives.
- Psychological concerns, from increased irritability to severe depression.
- Type 2 diabetes, which can be life altering at best and fatal at worst.
- A variety of liver issues, including excessive scarring.
- High blood sugar.
- Irregular cholesterol levels.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Cardiovascular strain from lack of oxygen, which could lead to abnormal heartbeat, stroke, or even sudden death.
- Sleepy people are more likely to get in car crashes or make mistakes at work.
Unfortunately, these OSA risks are compounded by the fact that many people have this disorder without realizing it. Many people do not fully awaken when they experience an apnea, so they may suffer through symptoms without any idea what is causing them. When you come in for a routine appointment at Dr. Gershberg’s practice or contact Main Line Snoring Solutions for a consultation, we will help you identify the signs of OSA so you can treat your condition.
How We Can Help
Many doctors prescribe CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy for patients with OSA. This treatment involves wearing a special mask connected to a machine that pumps air through it to keep your mouth in a better position. While effective, CPAP is cumbersome and often uncomfortable for patients, so 50 percent of them stop using this treatment within six months.
Dr. Gershberg and our team offer a simpler solution to OSA. If you suffer from this condition, we can fit you for a custom made oral appliance. You will wear this device during sleep to hold your mouth and jaw in a more ideal position, opening your airways so you can breathe properly and stop snoring. We provide a variety of oral appliance options to suit your distinctive needs and preferences. By avoiding apneas, you can get much higher quality sleep and avoid the life-threatening perils of OSA.
Making OSA Treatment Affordable
Leading a healthier, longer life doesn’t have to be expensive. Our practice participates in Medicare, and many medical insurance providers will cover a portion or even the entirety of the cost for an oral appliance, especially for patients who simply cannot tolerate CPAP. Our experienced team can help you determine how your insurance coverage could help lower the cost of your oral appliance.
Take Steps to Sleep Better and Live Longer Today
Diagnosing and treating OSA can vastly improve your quality of life. Contact our Bryn Mawr dental practice or call Main Line Snoring Solutions at (610) 527-6704 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gershberg. With over three decades of dental experience and extensive expertise in sleep apnea, he may be able to help you sleep better and live longer.