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All Posts in Category: Blog

Improve Your Sleep and Quit Smoking

If you quit smoking it will significantly improve your overall health—especially your lungs. Did you also know that by quitting smoking you might also significantly improve your sleep?  You can! Let’s take a closer look at smoking and how it can negatively affect your sleep.

The Negative Effects of Smoking and Sleep

If you compare a smoker to a non-smoker, it has been shown that smokers are three times more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (Wow!). This is because smoking causes an increase of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway, which can further aggravate sleep apnea symptoms.

Both smoking and sleep apnea are deadly conditions that can severely shorten your life span when combined. For example, smoking and sleep apnea can both cause cardiovascular and respiratory health problems. This means treatment is vital to your health.

Seek Treatment and Quit Smoking

Smoking makes the swelling in your upper airway worse, which can further aggravate symptoms such as snoring and pauses in breathing (sleep apnea). In order to have successful treatment, you must quit smoking. By quitting your habit of smoking, you are significantly improving your treatment options and the results from treatment. While quitting smoking does not guarantee that your sleep apnea will disappear, it does ensure that treatment will be much more effective.

While it is up to you to quit smoking, we can successfully treat your sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. Contact us today to learn more about your sleep apnea treatment options and tips for quitting your smoking habit.

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A Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Your Weight

Weight loss can significantly improve, and potentially eliminate, obstructive sleep apnea symptoms in obese people.  Researchers have found that people with severe obstructive sleep apnea who lost the recommended amount of weight, were three times more likely to experience remission of sleep apnea symptoms compared to those who did not lose any weight.

The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Obesity

Not everyone with sleep apnea is overweight, but most patients are.  Losing weight gets rid of fat that blocks the windpipe. In doing so, it can not only fix your sleep trouble, but can also help with your cholesterol, knees, clothes and overall feeling of yourself.  Some people have found that moderate to severe sleep apnea can be completely corrected by losing excess weight.  And for others, even a small amount of weight loss can open up the throat and improve sleep apnea symptoms.

After weight loss, if you are still experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, Dr. Bonnie Foster can work with you to create an appropriate treatment plan, including oral appliance therapy.  Schedule a consultation to determine the best treatment option for you. And remember, sleep apnea should never be ignored.

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The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Type 2 Diabetes

 

Let’s cut to the main point of this blog post: sleep apnea can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. It’s that to the point. Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep. As a result, breathing will stop and start throughout the night. Approximately 13 percent of men and 6 percent of women suffer from moderate to severe undiagnosed sleep apnea. While the percentages might seem small, it is important that we do not ignore them.

What is the Connection?

The World Health Organization states that approximately one in every 10 adults suffers from diabetes. Of those with diabetes, a majority has type 2 diabetes, which is when the body can’t make or process enough of the insulin hormone. For those who have type 2 diabetes, obesity is an increased risk. In addition, sleep apnea is also an increased risk for obesity and vice versa.

We need to place a high amount of focus in preventing sleep apnea. By screening for diabetes if you have sleep apnea, and screening for sleep apnea if you have diabetes, we can take strides in further protection against both conditions. This also holds true for those who are overweight and physically inactive people.

It is important to be aware of the link between sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. While ongoing research is still being completed, knowing there is a connection is key to protecting your overall health and well-being. Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster for more information on the connection between sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes, and how we can help.

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Are You at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Stop searching for answers across the Internet—we’ve got some risks to share with you so you don’t have to look any further. As you know, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when breathing pathways through the mouth, nose or throat are collapsed or blocked. These airways are susceptible to blockages, or collapse, as the muscle tone lining these pathways relaxes during sleep. So, who is at risk for sleep apnea? Let’s find out!

You are at Risk If…

Those who are the most at risk for developing sleep apnea are overweight individuals. Due to excess tissue, pressure is placed on the airway. More than half of those with sleep apnea are classified as overweight—an issue we need to tackle now. Your risk for developing sleep apnea significantly increases with increased weight, age and those with diabetes, as well as smokers.

You may also be susceptible to sleep apnea if you have a constricted shape or small size of certain features in the nose, mouth or throat. Allergies and other medical conditions can also cause the features along the airway to restrict the flow of oxygen. On the other hand, sleep apnea is often more common in men than women. It is also more common among African Americans, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders than Caucasians.

Contact Craniofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Center of Virginia for more information and to find out if you have sleep apnea. Together, Dr. Foster and her team of dental professionals can help improve your health.

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There’s a New Link to Your Anxiety: Sleep Apnea

Many of us carry a lot of stress on our shoulders, and a lot of times it means extreme anxiety toward a variety of things. No matter the cause, the stress or anxiety is always a constant, every day factor. Many people think that being tired during the day is a normal part of being stressed, but it isn’t. If you ever feel sleepy throughout the day, it is important to get tested and treated for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea affects people while they’re sleeping, which can be particularly jarring. Some people have to wear special masks connected to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines to ensure that they breathe normally throughout the night and the threat of breathing problems can cause severe anxiety. In turn, this anxiety may make sleep problems worse and sleep deprivation will continue to contribute to both depression and anxiety. Let’s learn more…

The Sleep Apnea and Anxiety Connection

For people already under tons of stress, you’re missing out on restorative sleep that slows the aging process and improves cognitive function—this just compounds the stress you face during the day. A huge source of anxiety during the day is actually from a feeling of breathlessness they experience at night. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you’re panicked all night long as you gasp for air — unconscious and unaware the entire time, but still paying the emotional price in the form of anxiety during the day.

To get ahead of stress, it is important to wake up feeling positive and optimistic in order to handle the next day’s events. If you are feeling any symptoms of anxiety or are waking up exhausted, it is important to visit a dentist to take the next steps toward diagnosis and proper treatment planning.

Contact Craniofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Center of Virginia to learn more about anxiety and sleep apnea. There continues to be a connection we need to pay close attention to and there are solutions that can help you get the rest you need to feel less stress.

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February is American Heart Health Month

We commonly associate February with Valentine’s Day, but did you know it is American Heart Month, too? If you’re looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, why not give the gift of heart health? This is a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle by making small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. And, while all Americans are at a risk of heart disease, African American men, especially those who live in the southeast region of the United States, are at the highest risk for heart disease. In addition, 40% of African Americans have high blood pressure, which is also a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

For this reason, during American Heart Month, we want to encourage you to make a change in your health and start new, heart-healthy behaviors to improve your health, while reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Small changes can make all the difference in your health!

A Sleep Apnea Connection

Expanding on the topic of heart health, we also want to point out the connection between sleep apnea and heart disease. Due to low oxygen or the stress of waking up frequently during sleep, many people die in the middle of the night as a result of sleep apnea. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, while stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, and is also a leading cause of disability with high blood pressure being a major risk in both conditions.

Sleep apnea, hypertension and heart disease continue to have a strong connection. Because of this, it is vital that everyone understand how these conditions are connected. Once you understand the importance of these strong connections, you can seek the proper treatment you need.

Make a Change

To not only improve your health, but your heart health, too, here are some helpful tips to follow during the month of February and beyond:

  • Schedule a visit with us to talk about the sleep apnea and heart disease connection.
  • Talk to your family doctor about your heart health.
  • Add exercise to your daily routine (even just 30 minutes a day helps).
  • Increase your healthy eating (at least 3 times a week helps).
  • Take steps to quit smoking.
  • Take medication as prescribed by your doctor.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster to learn more about how you can further protect your heart health by treating sleep apnea.

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Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms

The most common sign of sleep apnea tends to be loud, chronic snoring, but it does not always mean you suffer from this condition. If you have heard someone snore before, or even if you were told you snore, it is important to seek further information about sleep apnea now.

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Questions About Sleep Apnea

To help you get a better understanding of sleep apnea, and understand what questions we might ask, we have put together a simple questionnaire for you. In this survey, you will see a series of questions about how likely you are to doze off during the day. Take a look:

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Our Dental Team

We’ve got exciting news! At Warrenton Dental, we are now offering services in dental sleep medicine (Don’t worry, we’ll tell you more). By providing advanced services, we can provide our patients with the best care possible for both oral and overall health. Through the completion of continuing education courses, our entire dental team has been able to prepare for these advanced services. Let’s take a look at the role of a few members of our dental team.

The Dentist

Leading the team is of course our dentist. In order to properly provide services in dental sleep medicine, such as sleep apnea treatment, Dr. Bonnie Foster had to attend seminars, lectures and other continuing education courses. Through these courses, Dr. Foster can now provide you with proper care for sleep apnea. From knowing the right questions to the signs, Dr. Foster maintains the ability to properly treat sleep apnea, so you can get a better night’s sleep. 

The Hygienist

As a partner in your health at every visit, our hygienist will be there every step of the way. Just like Dr. Bonnie Foster, our hygienist has completed continuing education to remain up-to-date with the latest advancements in dental sleep medicine. Our hygienists will ask you questions and will often notice the first signs of sleep apnea, even if you might not be aware of it yet. Seek the guidance of our hygienists to help guide you in your treatment journey.

The Office Manager

Our front desk staff and office manager will be your go-to for important information. From scheduling your appointment to asking for further information on sleep apnea, and other services, our team will work with you. Let us help you in your journey to finding a solution for your symptoms.

Contact our office today to learn more about sleep apnea and how our dental team can help you remain healthy and happy.

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Why Dental Care is Important for Sleep

It is important to get a good night’s sleep every night. In doing so, your body is restored and your mind is enlivened. And, when it comes to sleep, there is one area you might have overlooked: Dental health care. More than 18 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which means they need a good night’s sleep in order to save their lives. By visiting your dentist, you can find proper treatment options to help relieve your symptoms. Let’s take a closer look at dental care and why it is important for sleep.

The Dentist’s Role

Dentists are often the first line of defense against sleep apnea, and are the first to notice symptoms because they are in contact with their patients more frequently than the family doctor. Dr. Bonnie Foster can notice and detect the less evident symptoms of sleep apnea through asking questions and talking with you, along with an exam.

She might suspect you suffer from sleep apnea if you have complaints of lethargy, morning headaches, or dry mouth. When signs and symptoms are first noticed, dentists will send patients to sleep medicine specialists who can properly diagnose sleep apnea. If diagnosed with a sleep breathing disorder, the specialist might then refer you back to our office for treatment with oral appliance therapy.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for sleep apnea will vary depending on the severity of the disorder. If you are suffering from mild sleep apnea, simple behavioral changes such as losing weight might make all the difference. Those suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea can also be treated with oral appliance therapy. Similar to a mouth guard, an oral appliance helps to reposition the jaw and tongue to improve airflow. As with any appliance, they will require some adjusting and commitment but are easy to wear and use.

To learn more about how Dr. Bonnie Foster can help with treatment of sleep apnea, please contact our office today!

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