12620 Clarksville Pike
Clarksville, MD 21029


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Posts for tag: sleep apnea

Many of our patients have an attitude of "what's the worst that could happen" when it comes to oral health and hygiene. The worst they envision is maybe a cavity or two. However, that's a great misconception, and untreated oral health issues can quickly become serious total health and wellness problems, including life-threatening conditions.

Preventative Dental CareProactive care is the key to maintaining proper health, and this is true for oral hygiene, as well as the rest of your body. If you go to the doctor for routine checkups, why wouldn't you go to your semi-annual dentist appointments for cleanup, care and maintenance?

At Parmar Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we are firm believers that prevention is the key to success and health. This includes education about potential dangers and conditions, as well as a proper treatment plan, at-home health strategy for maintenance, and more.

For example, sleep apnea is something that millions of Americans are battling, although many others aren't even fully aware of it. The problem can cause a myriad range of negative health effects, and we aren't just talking about snoring. There are dangers of sleep apnea that can be life-threatening, such as high blood pressure, obesity, hormone disruption, and increased risk of strokes or heart attack.

Unfortunately, this is something that I was personally affected by and reminded of recently. One of my best friend's husbands had a stroke, and thankfully, his recovery is expected to be 100%.

However, the stroke likely could have been prevented. He had blood pressure which ranged from 160/100 to 180/120, which falls between moderate and severely high blood pressure. This could have been proactively treated in various ways, including proper oral health, and the elimination of sleep apnea, which he exhibited problems of for years as he routinely would get less than 5 hours of sleep per night.

It's also a reminder to be aware of serious health concerns when you see them, so that swift, emergency treatment can be provided. In the case of strokes, look out for fast face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty. It's a time critical issue, and the sooner help arrives, the greater the chance for effective and successful treatment.

But before that emergency occurs, be sure to take every step you can to live a healthy lifestyle. That includes prevention and regular trips to the dentist, to help spot and treat serious oral health issues which can turn into life-threatening conditions.

Make a dental appointment online or by calling us at 410.531.5639 to schedule your proactive, preventative visit.

Recently, I was home visiting my parents and I noticed my mother had dark circles under her eyes and she was nodding off during my nephew's football game. When I asked her if she was getting enough sleep, she looked at me a bit perplexed. She said the following: 

"I just don't get it. You know what a loud snoorer your father is. I sleep most nights in the quiet and comfortable guest bedroom and yet, I am not getting any sleep there either!"

When I suggested she might be suffering from sleep apnea, she shugged it off and said, 

"I'm not a man. That's a man's disorder!" 

When I explained to her that sleep apnea did not just affect men and given her age (73 years old) and weight, this is exactly what could be going on. I am happy to report that my mother is now sleeping soundly. The doctors confirmed she had sleep apnea and she is now sleeping with an oral appliance. No more baggy eyes or drifting off! She is a different woman and I am so glad her energy has rebounded! 

Even with my own mother's experience behind me,  the medical community still thinks of sleep apnea as a "man's disorder". However, 3 recent studies confirm that women, especially older women, are very susceptible to this sleep interuption problem. And if left untreated, it can get worse over time.  

In a recent Swedish study, 400 women between the ages of 20 to 70 were asked to sleep overnight at home with sensors attached to their body to detect any change in their breathing patterns during the night. What they found was both interesting and a bit alarming. It turns out that women as young as 20 years old can suffer from sleep apnea and as women age their chance of having sleep apnea increased 3 fold. Here is how the study broke down by age category:  

  • Of  women 20-44 years old, 1 in 4 suffered from some level of sleep apnea
  • 2 out of 4 women between 45-54 had it
  • 3 out of 4 of women between 55-70 were troubled by sleep apnea 

But what are the risks of sleep apnea if left untreated? 

In a Spain study of 939 women who were 65 years or older with untreated severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), they had an increased risk of a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure, as compared to women who did not have OSA. 

There is another risk factor if left untreated: memory problems. 

In the study from the University of California, San Fransico, 298 women with an average age of 82 years and without dementia, were given sleep apnea tests. They found that 1 in 3 of the women had untreated sleep apnea. 

They let 5 years pass and they brought the same women back for a sleep test and this is what they found: 

  • Of the ones who had sleep apnea 5 years before, 45% had developed thinking and memory problems. 
  • Of the ones who did not have this problem, only 31% developed thinking and memory problems. 

"It makes sense that good sleep is going to be protective to the brain," said Dr. Robert Thomas, who studies sleep patterns at Harvard Medical School. 

"We see that it (sleep apnea) doesn't go away and it gets worse," said Terry Young, Professor for the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin. Studies have confirmed that sleep apnea is tied to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and early death.

In summary, sleep apnea affects both men and women. As women age, they have a greater propensity to it. It is up to us, to watch both the sleep and awake patterns of our parents and encourage them to get a sleep test if there is any question they might have sleep apnea. 

Parmar Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is located in Clarksville, Maryland. They have a variety of oral appliances available for their patients that suffer from sleep apnea. Dr. Parmar's mission is to provide each and every patient optimum CARE, with COMPASSION and COMPETENCY in a COMFORTABLE, trusting environment. Give them a call today to schedule your sleep apnea evaluation appointment! 

Do you ever feel like the person in this picture? There isn't enough coffee that can wake you up? In addition, did you know that about 20% of all automobile accidents are attributed to drowsy driving? It can affect not only the way we drive, our attitude in the work place, and believe it or not, it can even age our brain. 

But what is the adequate amount of sleep? Experts in this field agree that between 7-8 hours a night is about right and yet 33% of the US population gets less than that, every night. While it is agreed that caffeinated beverages, stress, and a busy schedule can attribute to our lack of sleep, there is also one very large contributor that interrupts our sleep cycle through the night: obstructive sleep apnea

For sleep apnea patients, it doesn't matter how long they are in bed. Their sleep is fragmented because they literally stop breathing several times throughout the night. Each stoppage is followed by a brief waking as they begin to breath again. Dangers of sleep apnea disorder include heart attacks, strokes, memory problems, and even dementia. 

In a recent study from the University of California, San Fransico, 1,300 women over the age of 75 found that participants with sleep apnea had a greater than twice the odds of developing dementia over 5 years than those without this condition. 

Most sleep apnea patients are fitted with a Continuous Postive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask that fits over their face and requires a hose and electricity to run. These units can also be difficult to travel with and require the patient to remain on their back during the sleep cycle, which may be difficult to do if the person is a side sleeper. 

An alternative to this option, is an oral appliance from a dentist, like Dr. Rashmi Parmar, who has been trained in dental sleep options. 

Parmar Family & Cometic Dentistry can help if you want a diagnosis or already have sleep apnea and can treat patients with oral appliances that are custom-fitted to help them sleep soundly and minimize the effects of sleep apnea, such as snoring. These FDA-approved devices essentially treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea by preventing airway obstruction and allowing the patient to breathe easily and continuously. Parmar Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is located in Clarksville, MD and is accepting new patients. Call them today at (410) 531-5639 to learn more about this breathtaking offering!