Attend these dental sleep medicine, pain lectures before summer

Before you know it, summer will be here. While there are dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain lectures all year long, we have some you might want to join before summer begins. I understand that summer is the time to travel and explore with your family. But why not get a few lectures in under your belt before jet setting across the world?

To help you get a better idea of what lectures are out there, I have put together a few for you to explore before June. Here they are:

March 29, 2019

Topic: Sleep disordered breathing and orofacial pain

Location: Chicago, IL

 

April 5-6, 2019

Topic: UNC Dental Sleep Mini Residency Session 3.

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

 

April 26-27, 2019

Topic: The Appliance Course for Dental Sleep Medicine & TMD.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia. 

 

May 10-11, 2019

Topic: TMJ for the dental sleep practice & Injections/Botox.

Location: New York, New York.

 

May 17-18, 2019

Topic: Sleep & Pain Mini Residency 3 Session 2.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia.

 

I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming lecture! Please let me know if you have any questions about these dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain lectures. See you soon!

Air pollution might increase the risk of sleep apnea

We already struggle with global warming and air pollution harming our environment and the animals that live in it. But, what is making matters even worse is that air pollution is also increasing our patients’ risk of sleep apnea. So, what do we do with this? Hold your breath? No, that is never a good solution.

According to new research published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, the ill effects of air pollution may be causing some people to lose sleep. Martha E. Billings, MD, MSc, and co-authors of “The Association of Ambient Air Pollution with Sleep Apnea: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis,” there is a link between obstructive sleep apnea and increases in two of the most common air pollutants: fine particulate pollution, known as PM2.5, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a traffic-related pollutant.

Odds of sleep apnea increase

Given that air pollution causes airway irritation, swelling and congestion, it appears that it was detrimental to sleep. It also might affect the parts of the brain and central nervous system that control breathing patterns and sleep.

Researchers used air pollution measurements gathered from hundreds of MESA Air and Environmental Protection Agency monitoring sites in six U.S. cities, plus local environment features and sophisticated tools. In doing this, they were able to estimate air pollution exposures at each participant’s home.

After conducting this study, the researchers found that a participant’s odds of having sleep apnea increased by:

  • 60 percent for each 5 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) increase in yearly PM5 exposure.
  • 39 percent for each 10 parts per billion increase in yearly NO2.

To summarize the study, air quality improvements may have an unrecognized benefit: better sleep health. Understanding the risk of sleep apnea and air pollution is important to helping your patients.

Less than 6 hours of sleep can hurt blood vessels

If our patients are not getting enough sleep, it can lead to health problems. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, there is a potential link between getting 6 hours of sleep a night and atherosclerotic lesions–the buildup of cholesterol in the wall of your blood vessel–in different blood vessels of the body.

This buildup can keep growing larger, progressively narrowing the vessel. Picture reducing a four lane highway to three, two, one or even no lanes. That is what happens to blood vessels when patients get 6 hours of sleep or less a night.

What happens to the blood vessel?

When the blood vessel gets too narrow, it can no longer provide enough blood and oxygen to whatever parts of the body depend on the blood vessel. This might be your heart, your brain, your kidney or any other part of your body. Plaque can also break off and travel through your bloodstream, which can continue to cause further harm to your health and well-being.

There is a growing body of evidence that less and worse sleep could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. When you sleep, that is the time for your body to heal and restore itself, which can include fixing the damage in your blood vessel walls.

How this factors in with sleep

The researchers used statistical analysis to determine if there was an association between sleep length or quality, and the presence of atherosclerotic lesions. The results were not good for those individuals who only sleep for a short period of time.

For those who got less than six hours of sleep a night were 27 percent more likely to have atherosclerotic lesions in various arteries than those who got seven to eight hours of sleep a night. The 20 percent with the worst quality of sleep were those who woke up the most and had the most movement in their sleep. These individuals were 34 percent more likely to have atherosclerosis compared to others who got better sleep.

It is important that we help our patients get a better night’s sleep to ensure their overall health and well-being.

Why should dentists treat sleep apnea?

Most of the time, people who have sleep apnea are not aware of their symptoms because they are asleep when they occur. If your patient is unaware of his or her sleep apnea, you may be able to identify particular physical symptoms. As a dentist, you play a crucial role in the diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. By understanding sleep apnea and by helping patients to treat sleep apnea, dentists can save many lives.

What is the negative effect of not treating sleep apnea?

Despite having clear signs and symptoms, many patients with obstructive sleep apnea go undiagnosed. In return, when a patient is finally diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), he or she has had obvious symptoms of the disorder for an average of seven years. During those seven years, patients report visiting their family physician about 17 times and a subspecialist about nine times.

When sleep apnea goes undiagnosed, patients begin to experience a range of worsening symptoms and health conditions. By properly educating yourself and your practice, you can better diagnose and treat sleep apnea in your patients, which helps improve their overall health.

What are the complications associated with sleep apnea?

Comorbidities of sleep apnea have been shown to include a number of health conditions, including an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and more. Let’s explore five health problems that are linked with sleep apnea:

  • High Blood Pressure. OSA can contribute to high blood pressure in people who have it due to frequent wakings at nighttime. This causes hormonal systems to go into overdrive, which results in high blood pressure levels.
  • Heart Disease. OSA can also lead to heart attacks, which can cause people to die in the middle of the night due to low oxygen or the stress of waking up frequently during sleep.
  • Type 2 Diabetes. Sleep apnea is very common among people with type 2 diabetes, which can also lead to obesity.
  • Acid Reflux. While there is no proof that sleep apnea causes acid reflux or persistent heartburn, it has been shown that people with sleep apnea do complain of acid reflux. As a result treatment of sleep apnea appears to improve acid reflux and vice versa.
  • Obesity. The addition of weight raises the risk of sleep apnea, while losing weight can help cure sleep apnea.

What is the financial burden of sleep apnea?

Sleep loss and sleep apnea affect an individual’s performance, safety and quality of life.  Almost 20 percent of all serious car crash injuries happen because of driver sleepiness, independent of alcohol. Additionally, sleep loss and sleep disorders have a significant economic impact. The high costs of untreated sleep apnea are far more costly than what happens when delivering adequate treatments.

Each year, we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on direct medical costs associated with doctor visits, hospital services, prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs.  When compared to healthy individuals, those who suffer from sleep loss and sleep disorders are less productive. These individuals also experience an increased health care utilization and an increased likelihood of accidents.

It is important to treat sleep apnea as a dentist. If you treat sleep apnea, you can help to improve your patients’ overall health and well-being.