Sleep Apnea – An Inherited Condition Triggered by Lifestyle Factors

Sleep Apnea pic
Sleep Apnea
Image: webmd.com

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.

Study Links Erectile Dysfunction to Depression in Sleep Apnea Patients

Sleep Apnea pic
Sleep Apnea
Image: foxnews.com

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

Sleep Apnea pic
Sleep Apnea
Image: vafacialsurgery.com

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.

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.