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Archive for March 2017

The Myths and Facts of Sleep Apnea

Are you tired during the day, but are getting the amount of rest you need? If so, you could be suffering from sleep apnea, which is a common disorder that causes frequent disruptions in your breathing, or shallow breaths while you sleep. These pauses can last from a few seconds to several minutes and can occur 30 times or more an hour. To help you better understand sleep apnea, lets take a look at some common myths and facts to help you decide if you or a loved one should see Dr. Bonnie Foster at our Warrenton office for further information.

Myth: People with sleep apnea know they have it because they’re jerked awake when their breathing stops.

Fact: Most people are unaware they have sleep apnea because they are sleeping when symptoms occur. Many people find out their breathing is affected by another who watches them or hears them while they sleep.

Myth: People with sleep apnea know they have it because they’re jerked awake when their breathing stops.

Fact: Most people are unaware they have sleep apnea because they are sleeping when symptoms occur. Many people find out their breathing is affected by another who watches them or hears them while they sleep. 

Myth: Sleep apnea is just an impressive word for snoring.

Fact: Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. But, it also might be an annoying sound that your bed partner makes throughout the night because the muscles in his or her throat relax too much.

Myth: Only people who are old or overweight get sleep apnea.

Fact: Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages and sizes. However, people who are overweight may be able to reduce symptoms by losing weight.

Myth: Alcohol is a good remedy.

Fact: Alcohol is not the solution. Instead, alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of the throat, which blocks the airway—sleeping pills have the same effect.

Treatment of sleep apnea can include simple lifestyle changes or oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is worn during sleep and gently pushes the lower jaw outward to create an unobstructed airway.

If you suffer from sleep apnea and are ready for a good nights sleep, contact Dr. Foster at our Warrenton office today!

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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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