Sleep Apnea – An Inherited Condition Triggered by Lifestyle Factors

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Sleep Apnea

A longtime dental practitioner, Avi Weisfogel leads Dental Sleep Masters in South Orange, New Jersey. Avi Weisfogel’s firm provides health care professionals with a risk-free system of oral appliances that addresses obstructive sleep apnea.

Involving partial or complete obstructions in the upper airway, sleep apnea is a common condition linked to diabetes and heart disease, among other conditions. An inherited disorder, sleep apnea is best conceptualized as a neuromuscular disease in which that part of the brain in charge of the upper airway fails to work properly. As a result, people with the condition are able to generate less power in the muscles of the upper airway. Sleep apnea typically does not manifest in those susceptible to the disease without a trigger, which can range from excessive drinking to weight gain.

Even when it does appear, an estimated 80 to 90 percent of those with sleep apnea are unaware that they have the condition. This is because the symptoms, which range from mood changes to daytime sleepiness, are also associated with stress and working too much. This points to an acute need for better sleep apnea awareness, outreach, and diagnosis programs throughout the United States.


Risk Factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

As owner of Dental Sleep Masters, Dr. Avi Weisfogel draws on an in-depth knowledge of sleep apnea. Dr. Avi Weisfogel uses this information to help dentists identify potential patients and to help patients secure the treatment that they need.

Although obstructive sleep apnea can affect nearly anyone of any age, risk factors increase significantly with excess weight and age. Approximately 50 percent of patients with sleep apnea carry excess weight, a connection that may be due to the positioning of fat deposits and the risk of these deposits pressing on the airway. Fat deposits around the waist or neck may prove particularly problematic, but the disorder is by no means confined to overweight individuals.

A neck larger than 16 inches around in women or 17 inches around in men may also increase the risk of breath obstruction during sleep, as the weight of this flesh can constrict the airway. For similar reasons, risk can increase in patients with genetically narrow airways, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, or chronic nasal congestion. Data further suggests that diabetes, high blood pressure, or a history of smoking can increase risk, and men over the age of 40 are particularly susceptible.

Finally, although children are less likely than adults to develop the condition, those with chronically enlarged tonsils and those who are overweight may be at a higher risk than their peers.

Study Links Erectile Dysfunction to Depression in Sleep Apnea Patients

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Sleep Apnea

Dr. Avi Weisfogel, owner of Dental Sleep Masters, has been connecting patients with sleep apnea treatments since 2010. In that time, Dr. Avi Weisfogel has built on an integrated understanding of the disorder and how oral appliance treatments can provide relief.

In mid-November of 2015, researchers from Seoul National University announced a potential connection between erectile dysfunction and depression stemming from sleep apnea. Past studies have indicated a link between sleep apnea and sexual health, and have determined that treatment for apnea can improve symptoms for patients with comorbid erectile dysfunction. This new study has strengthened these connections by demonstrating that the link between apnea and difficulty maintaining erections is likely a result of co-occurring depression.

Researchers made this connection by studying a variety of factors that impact the lives of men with sleep apnea. Potential factors included severity of the disorder, reported breathing difficulty, and overall quality of life, though depression still emerged as the most influential sub-factor for sleep apnea patients with erectile dysfunction difficulties. Data also suggests that general apnea treatment is likely to still be effective in reducing erectile dysfunction, as positive impacts of treatment on sleep quality can improve parasympathetic responses and potentially increase testosterone levels.

Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms

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Sleep Apnea

Dr. Avi Weisfogel, owner of Dental Sleep Masters in New Jersey, has studied in depth the relationship between dentistry and sleep. Focused on helping patients get the treatment they need, Avi Weisfogel has run sleep-testing systems and supports dentists in securing patients with apnea.

A serious medical condition, sleep apnea disrupts breathing during sleep and severely disrupts a patient’s rest. It occurs when the airway becomes blocked, which in turn prompts the patient’s body to exit deep sleep in an effort to correct the problem. Because this occurs in contrast to the normal sleep cycle, the patient often wakes tired and remains sleepy throughout the day.

Patients with sleep apnea also could report cognitive and mood changes, such as forgetfulness and trouble concentrating. They might experience a headache or dry mouth in the morning, which are symptoms prompted by abrupt and brief returns to wakefulness that the patient cannot remember. It also is common for a patient to be unaware of the sleep apnea condition, but for his or her partner to notice chronic symptoms such as snoring or interrupted breathing during sleep. Because the condition can lead to serious cardiovascular issues if left untreated, people who notice any of these symptoms should consult with a professional.

Dental Sleep Masters Hosts Introduction to Sleep Medicine Course

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Dental Sleep Masters

Dr. Avi Weisfogel has worked for more than 15 years building a successful career as a dental practitioner and sleep dentistry specialist. For the last year, Dr. Avi Weisfogel has maintained administrative oversight in his role as co-founder of Dental Sleep Masters (DSM) in South Orange, New Jersey.

Throughout the year, DSM offers a wide range of educational seminars to dental practitioners seeking to incorporate sleep medicine into their practices. On October 22 and 23, 2015, the firm hosted an Introduction to Sleep Medicine course at the Renaissance Allentown in Pennsylvania. The seminar aimed to provide basic knowledge of sleep medicine practices and help dental practitioners assume a role on their firm’s sleep medicine team.

Hosted by Drs. Weisfogel and Glassman of DSM, the course offered sections that covered several aspects of sleep medicine, including oral appliance therapy, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), and sleep apnea. In addition, the seminar featured an entire portion devoted to the treatment of bruxism (teeth grinding) and occlusion. Those in attendance had the opportunity to earn 16 hours of continuing education credit through the Academy of General Dentistry.

Identifying Sleep Bruxism

Avi Weisfogel, DDS, co-founded South Orange, New Jersey’s Dental Sleep Masters in 2014. Since that time, Dr. Avi Weisfogel and his partners have treated patients for a variety of oral issues that cause sleep disorders.

Sleep bruxism is an oral condition characterized by the grinding of teeth and clenching of jaw muscles during sleep. Undiagnosed or improperly treated sleep bruxism can lead to a number of related sleep disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea. The severity of sleep bruxism can range greatly. In some individuals, the condition may be so minor that treatment is not necessary, while other patients may develop serious jaw pain, chronic headaches, and damaged teeth.

The classic symptoms of sleep bruxism are jaw and facial pain, particularly after waking up; people may even find it difficult to fully open their mouths. The pain might be comparable to an earache or headache, but can be distinguished through worn tooth enamel and increased sensitivity throughout the mouth. If pain and oral damage continue unabated, a person should contact a dental professional for further analysis.

Two Main Types of Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

Experienced dental professional Avi Weisfogel, DDS, owns Dental Sleep Masters, a New Jersey-based company that endeavors to address sleep-disturbed breathing. Dr. Avi Weisfogel and his organization help the medical community understand that oral appliances are a treatment option every bit as viable as others, if not more so, for patients with sleep apnea.

Despite the multitude of treatment options for individuals with sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy is among the most effective for mild to moderate cases. Tongue retaining devices (TRDs) and mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are a couple of main types of appliances that are used for this type of treatment.

TRDs utilize a suction bulb that keeps the tongue in a forward position and prevents it from falling into the throat during sleep. At first, they are often less comfortable than MADs, but they have lower rates of therapeutic complications.

MADs function in a manner similar to TRDs in that they prevent the tongue from falling into the throat by keeping it in a forward position. However, they achieve this by repositioning the entire lower jaw, causing the tongue to move forward more indirectly. Since these devices hold the lower jaw in place, the mouth is much more stable and less likely to open. Furthermore, by stimulating muscles around the tongue, TRDs not only facilitate the organ’s rigidity but strengthen muscles in the surrounding area as well.