Did You Know? Sleep Apnea May Be Bad for Kidneys

Just when you thought there weren’t any other connections out there. Well, we can now connect sleep apnea with kidney failure. That’s right; sleep apnea may be bad for the kidneys.  According to Fox News, having sleep apnea may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Researchers analyzed data for 10 years—from 2000 to 2010—on 8,600 adults diagnosed with sleep apnea and four times as many adults of similar age, sex and monthly income without sleep apnea. They found 157 new cases of chronic kidney disease among people with sleep apnea and 298 cases in the comparison group.

After taking other health factors into account, sleep apnea increased the risk of kidney disease by 58%—wow, that’s a large percentage! And, by comparison, hypertension increased the risk by 17%. Additionally, diabetes being a stronger predictor than both other factors, more than doubling the risk of kidney disease.

Intermittent low levels of of oxygen during the night and fragmented sleep patterns may activate higher blood pressure. As a result, this could damage the kidneys and make individuals more susceptible to chronic kidney disease.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea can be treated with a CPAP machine at night. This might help to decrease high blood pressure and mitigate kidney risk. The same goes for the use of oral appliance therapy. As a dentist specializing in Sleep Dentistry not only can you help treat sleep apnea, but you can also help to prevent kidney disease. The use of oral appliance therapy can help improve your sleep while improving your overall health and well being.

Do your research and gain a better understanding of sleep apnea and this new-founded connection with kidney disease. And, if you are ready to complete more continuing education courses in the area of sleep apnea, please take a look at some upcoming lectures. As always, if you have any questions or are interested in further information, please contact my office.

Help TMD Patients Eat Right

Without proper nutrition your patients increase the risk of either gaining or losing weight, or suffering from nutritional deficiencies due to the pain caused by TMD. And through this, it can lead to other health problems. When it comes to maintaining your patients’ health and diet, it is important to remind them to eat fruits, vegetables, starches, protein and dairy, but to also be mindful of their TMD along the way.

A Background on TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are complex and poorly understood, and are characterized by pain in the jaw joint and/or surrounding tissues and limitation in jaw movements. These problems can affect a person’s ability to chew and swallow foods, while limiting how wide he or she can open their mouth. The immediate causes of TMD conditions such as:

  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle problems
  • Autoimmune and connective tissue disease
  • Developmental conditions
  • Movement disorders affecting the jaw

Whatever your patient’s situation may be, it is clear that TMD alone can impact the quality of life and lead to poor nutrition if the jaw pain and oral disability seriously affects their diet.

Encourage Patients to Eat Right

Many people who suffer from TMD tend to struggle with determining what to eat in order to maintain a proper weight and ensure adequate protein, vitamin and mineral status. Food choices will vary depending on the amount of pain your patients experience and their ability to open the mouth, chew and swallow. For those who are able to adequately open their mouths and have minimal pain, a soft or easy to chew diet will work well. A soft diet is defined as food that requires minimal chewing, including:

  • Dairy/Dairy Alternatives:Smooth yogurt, soft cheeses, milk, custard, puddings, and soymilk.
  • Grains:Soft bread, corn bread, muffins without seeds or nuts, soft tortillas, pancakes, and quinoa.
  • Fruits:Canned fruits, bananas, ripe melon, baked apples, fruit juice, and fruit smoothies.
  • Vegetables:Cooked carrots, squash, zucchini, spinach, kale or other greens, avocados, green beans, and cooked pumpkin.
  • Protein Foods:Soft-cooked chicken or turkey with gravy, meatloaf, fish, deli meats, meatballs, tuna, refried beans, and smooth nut butters.
  • Soups:Cream-based soups, tomato soup, and broth-based soups.
  • Desserts:Soft cakes, cobblers and pies, frozen yogurt, sherbet, milkshakes and puddings.

If your patient is unable to tolerate a soft diet, a pureed diet may be a better option. Some examples of foods that can be included in a pureed diet are:

  • Dairy/Dairy Alternatives:Smooth yogurt, soft cheeses, milk, custard, puddings, and soymilk.
  • Grains:Bread that has been soaked into a dissolvable consistency, pureed pasta, hot cereals, grits, and mashed potatoes.
  • Fruits:Applesauce, mashed ripe bananas, fruit juice, and seedless jam/jelly.
  • Vegetables:Mashed white or sweet potatoes, pureed carrots, beets, beans, peas, creamed corn and hummus.
  • Protein Foods:Pureed meats, pureed/scrambled eggs, crustless quiche, egg custards, and yogurt-based smoothies.
  • Soups:Soups that are smooth or that have been put through the blender.
  • Desserts:Puddings, custards, dessert soups, gelatin, and fondue.

By keeping a list of foods they can eat and foods not to eat, it is a good place for patients to start in ensuring they are eating the right foods. For your patients suffering from TMD it is important to guide them in choosing the right foods to eat. If you are not sure what to recommend your patients to eat, contact Dr. Mayoor Patel for more information in helping to protect your patients while minimizing jaw pain.

Alcohol and Sleep Apnea is a Dangerous Cocktail

This St. Patrick’s Day, when your patients are getting ready to go celebrate with friends and family, take a moment to provide some tips to help protect them from the effects of sleep apnea. As you may already know, alcohol has a negative effect on sleep apnea symptoms.

Alcohol may affect sleep and impact sleep apnea in several ways. So, should people with sleep apnea never drink alcohol? Will limiting alcohol at least help a little? Let’s take a look at the answers so you can help your patients protect themselves during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and beyond.

Alcohol and Sleep Apnea

In general, alcohol is a substance that may have significant impacts on a person’s overall health. Many people may not realize that alcohol may also affect their sleep, especially if they suffer from sleep apnea and other sleep-disordered breathing conditions. Why? Well, alcohol can decrease a person’s drive to breathe, which slows down breathing and makes breaths shallow. In addition, it may relax the muscles of the throat, which may make it more likely for the upper airway to collapse.

The Consequences

As a result, alcohol use causes apnea events to occur more frequently in someone who is predisposed to them. Additionally, the drops in oxygen levels of the blood become more severe, which may lead to increased carbon dioxide levels in the body, a condition called hypercapnia. The consequences of sleep apnea may become more pronounced with alcohol use.

If your patient suffers from sleep apnea, the best advice would be to abstain from all alcohol use. At the very lease, alcohol should not be used in the several hours prior to bedtime to help minimize the effects experienced overnight. It is also important for patients to utilize their oral appliance or CPAP machine if they suffer from sleep apnea.

So, for St. Patrick’s Day, let your patients have their fun, but be sure to inform them of the negative affects of alcohol on sleep apnea.

Content Marketing and Your Practice

In today’s technologically advanced society, simply owning and running your dental practice is not enough. While treating your patients is one of the most important parts of your practice, there is another area that is just as important: Content Marketing. Yes, you heard me right. So, what does content marketing have to do with dentistry? Everything! The use of content marketing not only helps get your practice’s name out there, but it also helps to educate your patients so that they can continue to take proper care of themselves outside of your office as well. Here’s what you can do with content marketing to help improve your presence:

Blog, Blog, Blog

By incorporating a blog on your website you are creating an extension of your site. Utilize your blog to share important information about your practice, dentistry, sleep apnea, craniofacial pain, tips, and other information you feel your patients need to know. The blog is there for you to use it as you wish. Whether it is once a month, once a week or twice a week—make sure you are blogging to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. 

Get Social

Jump on social media to interact with your patients. Not only can your patients “like” your office, but they can leave reviews, message you and ask questions. It also allows you to actively respond to your patients outside of office hours, as well as a platform to share all those blog posts you will be creating!

Reach Out to Patients

Reaching out to your patients is simple. Whether you create a monthly newsletter or send out weekly emails with updates, it is important to reach out to your patients to keep the lines of communication open. You want to make sure your patients know they can contact you with questions or concerns and you will be open to speaking with them.

In-Office Education

From pamphlets to handouts, keeping your patients educated is important in your office, too. To keep them educated, you can put together pamphlets or one page handouts that touch base on important information that you feel they should know. You might also consider a frequently asked questions sheet that covers areas many patients are always interested in.

No matter what route you take, it is important to make the most out of content marketing for not only reaching your patients, but in creating a presence for your practice. Contact me if you have any questions!