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All Posts Tagged: Sleep Apnea

Your Sleep Position Can Make All the Difference

By understanding different sleep positions, you can better understand how to improve your sleep patterns because your position when you sleep directly affects your quality of sleep. Let’s take a look at the best and worst positions for sleeping—you may second-guess how you sleep. Let’s start with the worst positions to avoid before we take a closer look at positions that might be the best.

Avoid the Worst Positions

There really is not a “worst” position (technically) because we each sleep differently. For one person sleeping on the back might be the best, while another might be a side sleeper. To determine the best and worst position for you, simply sleep. Yes, that’s right—sleep.

However, if you snore or suffer from sleep apnea, back sleeping is a big no-no. By sleeping on your back you may obstruct your airway, so try to sleep on your side to open your airway up again. An oral appliance will help with this as well.

Choose the Best Position

Suffering from sleep apnea means that side sleeping may be the best choice because it helps keep your airways open. Research suggests that sleeping on your left side can relieve heartburn symptoms, while right side sleeping makes them worse.

To help determine the best sleep position for your individual needs, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Go with the flow. If you try to change your natural sleep position, you could potentially harm the quality of your sleep.
  • The mattress matters. The condition of your mattress will often dictate your sleep position. An old, worn-out mattress that sags in the middle might make sleeping on your side or stomach difficult.
  • Take Sides. Most people are side sleepers, but the jury is still out on which side is more popular—left or right. You might stick with one position most of the time, but as you age your position may shift.
  • No one stays in one position. Staying in the same position all night is bad for circulation—and it varies from person to person.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster to learn more about sleeping positions and sleep apnea in Warrenton, VA.

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Sleep Apnea is bad for Your Health

It’s true that sleep apnea has negative consequences on your overall health. In fact, a lack of sleep can lead to exhaustion and crankiness, but long-term sleep disruption can lead to serious health conditions, too. Approximately 25 million adults in the United States suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine), which is why it is important to seek treatment immediately. Some health complications associated with sleep apnea include the following:

Heart Disease

A common affliction for those with sleep apnea is heart disease. Those who suffer from heart disease as a result from sleep apnea may have an increased chance of dying by as much as five times the amount of those without sleep apnea. And, as one of the leading causes of death in the country, heart disease can easily be prevented.

Depression

Yes, sleep apnea can even lead to depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that women who are suffering from untreated sleep apnea have a five times greater risk for symptoms of depression. On the other hand, men who have untreated sleep apnea are more than twice as likely to exhibit signs of clinical depression.

Diabetes

As you may know, obesity is the leading cause of sleep apnea, as well as diabetes. Put the two together and your risk goes higher for each. According to research by “Frontiers in Neurology”, up to 83% of Type 2 diabetes patients have sleep apnea and may not have even been aware they had it. When a patient is unaware, it hinders their ability to receive proper treatment, and that means you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms to further educate yourself and your loved ones.

By getting screened for sleep apnea, you’re on the right track toward improving your overall health too. Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster in Warrenton, VA to learn more about sleep apnea and how you can protect yourself from further health complications.

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The Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

Over 25 million people suffer from sleep apnea, which means it is important to understand the risk factors involved. While sleep apnea is a deadly disease, it is a highly preventable one when proper treatment is completed. To help you better understand sleep apnea, let’s take a look at the warning signs and who is at risk:

Overweight Individuals

The population most at risk for experiencing sleep apnea is overweight individuals. This is due to excess tissue that places pressure on the airway. More than half of those with sleep apnea are classified as overweight. And this is an issue we need to start tackling faster than ever. The risk of developing sleep apnea significantly increases with increased weight, age and those with diabetes. This is also the case for smokers, too.

Gender and Race

Your gender also says a lot about sleep apnea and your chances of developing this condition. It is more common for men than women to develop sleep apnea. Additionally, sleep apnea is more common among African Americans, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders than Caucasians.

Constricted Shape of Nose, Mouth or Throat

Take a look at the shape and size of your features, such as your nose, mouth or neck. If you have a constricted shape or small size nose, mouth or throat, you might have a greater chance for developing sleep apnea. Allergies and other medical conditions can also cause features along the airway to restrict the flow of oxygen, further worsening sleep apnea.

Understanding the risks and warning signs of sleep apnea can help you find the right form of treatment before further complications arise. Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster to find out if you have sleep apnea.

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Going to Bed Later Can Mean Weight Gain

What time do you typically go to bed at? Is it later than 9 pm, or even midnight? Do you find yourself sleeping in later and even eating later, too? If you do, then you might be at a significant risk for weight gain (yikes!).

Late sleepers consumed about 248 calories a day, mainly at dinner and later in the evening. In fact, these individuals ate half as many fruits and vegetables, twice the amount of fast food and even drank more full-calorie sodas than those who had earlier bed times.

Why the Weight Gain?

By consuming extra daily calories, it can mean a significant increase in weight gain. With almost two pounds extra a month, people are shown to gain more weight than expected when exercise is also not included. In a study from Northwestern Medicine, 51 participants were followed—23 were late sleepers and 28 were normal sleepers with the average age of 30 years old.

The late sleepers went to sleep at an average time of 3:45 a.m. and woke up by 10:45 a.m. and ate breakfast at noon, lunch at 2:30 pm, dinner at 8:15 pm and a final meal at 10 pm. Normal sleepers on average were up by 8:00 am, ate breakfast by 9 am, lunch at 1 pm, dinner at 7 pm, a last snack at 8:30 pm and were asleep by 12:30 am.

Not only was the number of calories consumed each day key in weight gain, but so was the timing. For those who ate after 8:00 pm,  they were more likely to have a higher BMI, even after controlling for sleep timing and duration. These findings were relevant to people who are not very successful in losing weight.

It’s Time to Lose Weight

In order to maintain your health, it is important to lose weight—this is especially true if you currently suffer from sleep apnea in Warrenton. Remember to tailor your weight loss plans to your current health needs, medications and lifestyle.

If you are also experiencing joint pain and inability to move hydrotherapy might work well. By exercising in water it can help make it easier for mobility despite high body mass index, arthritic hips and knees.

Please contact Dr. Bonnie Foster, our dentist in Warrenton, to learn more about sleep apnea, weight loss and how you can take the next steps toward weight loss for health improvement.

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A Connection Exists Between Sleep Apnea and Depression

There is a complexity between sleep apnea and depression. While depression can cause an array of sleep problems, the same goes for sleep complications—it can contribute or cause depressive disorders. Dr. Bonnie Foster, your dentist in Warrenton, continues to remain in a unique position to help you improve your health. By treating sleep apnea, we can ultimately help improve your depression. Let’s learn more.

What is the Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Depression?

Sleep-disordered breathing has been linked with depression. This is especially true because insomnia is very common among people that are depressed. It has been suggested that those who suffer from insomnia have 10 times the risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well.

If you are depressed, you may suffer from a range of insomnia, including:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Un-refreshing sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is linked with depression because those with depression were found to be five times more likely to suffer from sleep-disordered breathing. With such a high instance of sleep apnea in those with depression, it is important to talk to Dr. Foster to discuss next steps in treatment for sleep apnea in Warrenton.

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea in Warrenton

But we have good news! By treating sleep apnea, your depression may improve. And, in many cases, because symptoms of depression overlap with symptoms of sleep apnea in Warrenton, there can be a risk for misdiagnosis.

If you are experiencing signs of depression, you should also be screened for sleep apnea by answering questions about the following symptoms:

  • Snoring
  • Breathing pauses while sleeping
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

For more information on sleep apnea in Warrenton, please contact Dr. Bonnie Foster. With proper treatment, we hope to not only provide relief from sleep apnea in Warrenton, but depression as well.

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Understanding Sleep Apnea and How to Help

Snoring isn’t something to be overly concerned about, is it? Not necessarily. Loud, frequent snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, which is a common and potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. It is vital that we work to distinguish between snoring and sleep apnea in Warrenton—understanding the difference will make all the difference.

Understanding Snoring

Severe snoring can cause an array of problems, including sleep disturbances for the snorer and other household members as well as walking episodes.  Snoring does not always result in sleep apnea, but chronic snoring may indicate an underlying sleep disorder.  Left untreated, sleep apnea can increase risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and car accidents due to sleepiness while driving.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a type of breathing disorder, which is a serious, and potentially life-threatening condition characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep.  There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)– the upper airway is open, but no oxygen is getting into the system.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – the lungs and the diaphragm are functioning normally, but no oxygen is entering the system because there is an obstruction in the upper airway.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea – this is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.

The signs and symptoms of OSA include snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, gasping or choking during the night, non-refreshed sleep, fragmented sleep, clouded memory, irritability, personality changes and morning headaches.

 

Does your partner or a family member display chronic snoring and pauses in breathing while they sleep? If so, it is important to contact Dr. Bonnie Foster in Warrenton, VA about sleep apnea and your treatment options.

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Obesity: A Leading Cause of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that continues to grow, and a lot of it has to do with the obesity epidemic. The worst part is that not only does obesity have an association with sleep apnea, but sleep apnea tends to cause people to eat more, too. It’s a difficult situation in which each condition can add to the other. So, what’s the solution? Losing weight and seeking treatment.

A Look at the Numbers

The statistics are alarming! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 65% of Americans are overweight or obese. From 1980 to 1999, the number of obese adults jumped from 15% to 27%. And, in 2000, more than 15% of children ages 6 to 19 years old were overweight, which is three times higher than in 1980. We should wonder, “why are we getting fatter as a nation?” Our levels of physical activity have plummeted, and our caloric intake has increased when it should be declining.

Why Does Obesity Lead to Sleep Apnea?

Obesity is a leading cause and side effect of sleep apnea. By adding on weight, it raises the risk of sleep apnea, while losing weight can help cure sleep apnea. When people are severely overweight, they can fail to breathe rapidly enough or deep enough. When this occurs, it results in low blood oxygen levels and high blood carbon dioxide levels. And when this happens, many people who are obese stop breathing altogether for short periods of time during sleep. In return, extreme strain is placed on the heart, which can lead to symptoms of heart failure.

Lose Weight Now

It is important to take charge of your health and life. Begin making smarter choices to lose weight. Sleep experts suggest the following:

  • Make healthy choices for your meals
  • Start exercising consistently
  • Examine your sleep schedule

Weighing yourself on a scale isn’t the answer to improving your weight because muscle often weighs more than fat. To find out what your body mass index (BMI) is, visit the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s website.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster to learn more about sleep apnea and what steps you can take to begin losing weight.

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4 Signs of Sleep Apnea to Watch Out For

Oh no, not again! Is your partner complaining about your snoring again? Are they tired of hearing a freight train next to them every night? While snoring can be extremely annoying for your bed partner, it can also be detrimental to your health. Loud snoring might a sign that you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). To help you better understand sleep apnea, let’s take a closer look at four obvious signs you won’t want to ignore.

You Wake Up Thirsty

Have you ever woken up and your mouth is as dry as the Sahara Desert? If you wake up every morning (or even throughout the night) and think you just woke up in the middle of Arizona because your mouth is so dry, you might have a more serious condition. A sign of sleep apnea is dry mouth and the need to drink more water. Snoring can cause a dry mouth and a sore throat, so be on the lookout for this.

Morning Headaches

Poor sleep can lead to morning headaches, which can lead to a very unproductive day. Waking up with a headache is never fun, so pay close attention to when these headaches occur. If you suspect your headache is caused by your sleeping condition, it might be time to contact us for further information. Don’t just deal with morning headaches in hopes they will just go away. Reach out and get help.

Sensitive Teeth or a Sore Jaw

While you’re sleeping, you might be clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. This typically occurs because your body is trying to force enough air through the airway. Pay attention to your jaw and teeth when you wake up, and even throughout the day. Do you feel soreness or sensitivity? It might be time to visit and seek treatment.

Frequent Nighttime Bathroom Breaks

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom? Or maybe even a couple times throughout the night? Interrupted sleep can lead to more frequent urges to use the bathroom. Pay attention to how frequently you are waking up throughout the night. If it is far more than once or twice, it is important to receive a diagnosis.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster to learn more about sleep apnea and what to look out for. Your health is important, and so is your sleep.

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The Dangerous Combination of Sleep Apnea and Hypertension

Snoring can affect just about anyone—even if you don’t realize you are doing it. While snoring occurs more frequently in men and those who are overweight, snoring tends to worsen with age. And, while occasional snoring is not very serious (and just a nuisance for your bed partner), it can be a risk for serious health problems, such as sleep apnea.  What is even worse, is the connection between sleep apnea and high blood pressure.

The Connection

Several studies have shown that sleep apnea and high blood pressure are quite the dangerous team—or should we say rivalries? When sleep apnea and high blood pressure are combined, it increases your risk for a stroke and heart attacks. Treatment of sleep apnea helps in lowering blood pressure. One treatment option might be an oral appliance, which helps to open the airway to encourage proper breathing at nighttime.

Lifestyle changes can also be beneficial for improving sleep apnea symptoms and diminishing hypertension. For example, losing weight if you are overweight, not drinking alcohol, and exercising regularly can all help in preventing the narrowing of your airway when you sleep.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster in Warrenton for sleep apnea treatment options in order to prevent hypertension and improve your health.

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Guard Your Heart and Treat Sleep Apnea

Snoring is an annoying act, especially for the person who listens to it every night—or maybe they’re lucky enough to fall asleep before you and don’t hear it. While snoring is annoying, if the snorer repeatedly stops breathing for brief moments throughout the night, it can lead to heart disease.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing pauses every five to 30 minutes per hor or more during sleep. When these episodes of pauses in breathing, the sleeper will wake up because they gasp for air. This prevents restful sleep and is commonly associated with high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and heart failure.

Approximately one in five adults suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea, with more men suffering from this condition than women. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in which weight on the upper chest and neck contributes to blocking the flow of air. OSA is associated with obesity, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

Sleep apnea can lead to heart attacks, which cause people to die in the middle of the night due to low oxygen or the stress of waking up frequently during sleep. As you might know, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, while stroke takes fourth place for the cause of death and a leading cause of disability—high blood pressure is a major risk in both conditions.

The relationship between sleep apnea, hypertension and cardiovascular disease is very strong, which makes it vital that everyone understand this connection and seek treatment immediately.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

To help minimize your chances of heart disease, it is important to receive proper treatment for your sleep apnea. While the most common treatment option is CPAP therapy, many people are non-compliant, meaning they can’t deal with the treatment or it is uncomfortable. An improved option for treatment from Dr. Foster is oral appliance therapy. Like a mouth guard in appearance, an oral appliance works to prevent your tongue from falling over your through during sleep. This helps to open the airway and keep you breathing throughout the night.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster in Warrenton, VA to learn more about the sleep apnea and heart disease connection. Seeking proper treatment can make all the difference you need to live a healthy life.

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