Sometimes the Doctor has to become the Patient
Do you ever find yourself tired in the middle of the day? Have you dozed off while sitting in front of your computer? Or maybe you have even found yourself falling asleep while waiting for a traffic light to change. All or any of these might be a sign that you suffer from a potentially dangerous malady called sleep apnea. The most common form of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea or OSA, usually results from a constriction in the upper airway due to collapse of the soft tissues of the tongue, palate and throat during sleep, causing snoring and difficulty, or in some cases a momentary cessation, in breathing. Many times the person suffering from OSA is unaware of their condition, but it is usually no surprise to one's sleeping partner. More often than not it is the sleeping partner that initiates the action that results in the condition being treated. In my case, loud snoring during sleep had resulted in my fabricating for myself a dental appliance called a Thornton Anterior Positioner or TAP appliance, which when worn forces the patient's lower jaw to a forward position, resulting in a more open airway due to advancment of the tongue away from the back of the throat. For a while this seemed to work. But recently my snoring continued even with the appliance, such that I decided to seek a consultation with a specialist in Sleep Medicine. And so, in this case the Doctor has become the Patient. I am currently scheduled to undergo a Polysomnogram, or Sleep Study, toconfirm the tentative diagnosis of OSA and to determine its severity. In some cases of mild to moderate apnea, dental appliances may be appropriate. In other cases,usually more severe, CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) magchines may be necessary.
Hear what Rosie O'Donnell has to say a her sleep apnea condition:I decided to blog about this condition because I feel that it is important for my patients, as well as the general public, to be made aware of the potential danger associated with OSA. It increases the risk for stroke, heart attack, and even diabetes. I will follow up on this topic after I get the results of my sleep study. Victor R. Siegel, DDS