Recently updated on September 23rd, 2017 at 02:56 pm
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It’s estimated that 22 million Americans have OSA and 80% of them are undiagnosed. Why?
I believe that many of them know or strongly suspect they have OSA. Many of them have friends that have it or died from its complications. It’s generally known that Obstructive Sleep Apnea, untreated, reduces life expectancy. So what are the reasons people don’t get diagnosed and treated?
A lot of those people won’t subject themselves to the most common treatment, the dreaded CPAP machine with those god-awful masks.
It was like “a hurricane blowing up my nose.”
“Wearing the CPAP machine felt equivalent to sticking my head out of a car window going 30 miles an hour. And I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut for more than an hour to breathe through my nose.”
Stories like this are the norm:
“I have had two of these things and could never use them. The first one was prescribed about 13 or 14 years ago, when I was still married. I was able to wear it for a few weeks and I did get better sleep with it for a while, but then it became so irritating to me that I was tearing it off when asleep and then later it just kept me up all night if I tried to use it.
Later my doc ordered a different one, with a gel mask and some kind of humidifier attached to it. I think I used it once or twice and that was enough for me. I think there are pieces of it in one of my closets.”
Admittedly, CPAP treatment is far from ideal. CPAP compliance is often defined as using the therapy for an average of 4 hours a night for at least 70% of the nights, a level of usage that already seems like poor compliance. Even with that marginal requirement for compliance, 3 studies show that somewhere between 29% and 83% of patients are still not found to be compliant. For many undiagnosed people this certainly seems like a pretty good reason not to bother getting diagnosed.
Some of the big complaints relate to CPAP’s high pressure causing discomfort, wakefulness, claustrophobia, dry nose and dry mouth. Higher pressure is needed when one’s mouth is open because air escapes through the mouth lowering the air pressure that is needed to keep the throat open to prevent obstructed breathing. People have tried chin straps, but they cause problems with discomfort, temporo-mandibular joint and dental problems. If one’s mouth can be kept closed, the CPAP pressure setting can often be reduced, lessening many of the complications of CPAP.
This problem was actually solved many years ago, but nobody knows about it. It’s called the Chin-Up strip. Dale Miller is the inventor of the Chin-Up strip. He came to visit me to help him market his product. My name is Dan Cohen, MD and I’m the guy who launched the Breathe Right nasal strip. When Dale came to visit me I was too busy to help him, but I’m trying to help now.
Dale’s Chin-Up strip helps a lot of people that use CPAP. Why? It keeps the mouth closed so that the CPAP pressure can be lower and still be effective. The Chin-Up strip helps keep the mouth closed in a way that avoids the problems that chin straps cause. It is comfortable to wear and it does what’s needed – keeps the mouth closed so that CPAP pressures can be lower and still keep the airway open and unobstructed.
Having been so successful with Breathe Right, I know how important a simple, effective solution can be. If you have or are suffering with CPAP compliance, consider this simple easy solution. If your CPAP machine is in the closet, please consider dusting it off and trying it again.
If you think you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) please read the symptoms below and get diagnosed:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headache
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability
- High blood pressure
OSA is a lousy disease to live with. I can certainly understand not wanting to live forever with those symptoms, but Chin-Up strips may help you overcome many if not all of the complications, dramatically improving the quality of your life.
Good luck, breathe and sleep better and live happier.
Recently updated on September 30th, 2017 at 08:43 am
Many people around the world suffer from sleep-related disorders. One of the most common sleep disorders is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (or simply sleep apnea) that affects at least one in fifteen people. While hundreds of people suffer from this condition, less than twenty percent get a proper diagnosis or treatment. When sleep apnea remains undiagnosed, it keeps getting worse and can also turn fatal sometimes.
Sleep is the body’s way of healing and rejuvenating from the day’s physical and mental activities, and lack of sleep because of disorders can affect the quality of everyday life. People who suffer from sleep disorders often feel lethargic and disoriented throughout the day and have trouble focusing on work or other activities. When this continues for an extended period, the person may be affected by high-stress levels and daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea is a major reason behind all these conditions.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
There are several types of sleep apnea, but Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common. In this condition, breathing stops and starts periodically when the person sleeps. This happens when the throat muscles relax and block the passage of airway, making it difficult to breathe. The most important symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is snoring. More often than not, all snorers suffer from OSA but are rarely ever diagnosed.
Causes and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The biggest cause of sleep apnea is the blockage of the airway by the relaxing throat muscles. When these muscles relax, the passage of air is narrowed, resulting in impaired breathing. When this lasts for more than ten seconds, the oxygen in the blood starts to lower, and carbon dioxide starts to increase. The brain has a way of correcting the breathing by waking the person up for a brief moment. The person usually doesn’t remember this episode.
When this cycle repeats itself for several times every hour throughout the night, it prevents the person from getting the desired amount of sleep and causes excessive daytime sleepiness. Lack of concentration, tiredness, and lower levels of energy are some of the repercussions of sleep apnea. The sufferer often doesn’t remember the impaired sleep nor realize the problem.
There are several symptoms that may hint at obstructive sleep apnea. Some of these are:
Loud snoring: Most often, snoring that is loud enough to wake others up is caused by some kind of sleep apnea. Loud snoring should always be diagnosed and treated by a doctor to get to the root of the problem.
Daytime sleepiness: While daytime sleepiness can be caused by a lot of other reasons, if it continues for an extended period it may be because of obstructive sleep apnea and lack of nighttime sleep.
Waking up abruptly with a dry throat is another sign of snoring caused by sleep apnea.
Nighttime sweating and lack of concentration during the day are also symptoms that may be associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Morning headaches may be present along with these symptoms.
Mood swings, depression, and irritability can result from lack of proper nighttime sleep caused by obstructive sleep apnea.
Who Is At Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea can affect anybody, but certain people are at a higher risk. They are:
Overweight or obese people: Most people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are overweight or obese. When fat deposits around the airway, it blocks breathing and impairs sleep. This does not mean being thin reduces the risk. Anyone with any kind of weight may be affected by this condition.
People with a narrow airway: Whether you have a naturally narrow airway or have enlarged adenoids or tonsils, this could be a serious factor contributing to the problem. Surgery is usually required to correct this condition.
People with hypertension: High blood pressure causes a rise in diastolic and systolic pressure, contributing to sleep apnea, snoring, and impaired breathing.
Smokers: Those who smoke are at a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea because smoking causes fluid retention in the air passage and causes impaired breathing.
Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Depending on the severity of the condition, treatments for obstructive sleep apnea include:
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): This is known to be the most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP requires wearing a pressurized mask over the mouth and nose while sleeping, to help keep the airway unblocked by forcing air through it. Although it takes a little effort to get used to the mask, it is a very useful treatment.
Oral Mouthpieces: There is dental equipment fitted to the mouth for correcting the tongue, jaw, and soft palate position for clearing the airway.
Surgery: The process of uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is used to minimize the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. This surgery removes tissue out of the airway but has side effects like pain and bleeding.
Laser surgery: This is a simple process to shorten the soft palate with the aid of a laser beam.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition if diagnosed properly. If you have any of the above symptoms, and suspect that you might be at risk, consult your doctor for proper treatment and diagnosis to get to the root of the problem.