Sunday, March 29, 2009

The "We All Snore in the Same Language" Project

Snoring Isn't Sexy LLC announces the launch of a new micro-site The site was created in response to requests from around the globe to, for information about snoring and sleep apnea. The micro-site is currently asking users in every country to send a video greeting to demonstrate that people have more similarities than differences regardless of country, skin color, religion or sexual preference. The "We All Snore in the Same Language" Project is seeking volunteers to translate the one page site into as many languages as possible. To volunteer or for more information send an email or call (888) 203-0488.

The Internet presents an opportunity for all people who suffer as a result of snoring to connect with one another, as well as to learn about treatments for their condition. The micro-site, designed with the dual purpose of unifying and educating, welcomes submissions in all languages.

Dr. Barsh

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Secret [Sex] Life of Snorers

There's an old saying "Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone." It's pretty obvious that snorers end up in separate beds, often in separate rooms but what's not so obvious is that snoring which leads to sleep apnea can seriously alter both your sexuality and your ability to perform.

Our absolutely free, no sign in required, e-book The Secret [Sex] Life of Snorers walks you through the psychological, emotional and physical side effects of snoring and sleep apnea and provides a quick look at the possible solutions including one that your physician will probably not tell you about.

One caveat, if you enjoy sleeping alone - please do not DOWNLOAD and read this e-book.

Dr. Barsh

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"When Economy Sours Tootsie Rolls Soothe Souls"

Well folks, to follow up on its March 18th story extolling the virtues of Whoopie Pies, the New York Times has done it again with a front page story on how sugar comforts the soul in times of economic downturn. Story after story relates the comforting effect of candy during hard times and how the candy industry is reporting "rising sales and surprising profits." Not one mention anywhere of the adverse effects of increasing dietary intake of refined sugar: dental caries, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnea.

In the past 30 days, the New York times has had no less than 19 stories about the risk of diabetes. One story published today is entitled "Awareness: Calculator Gives Risk of type 2 Diabetes." The article references another article that states "Nearly two-thirds of the United states population is overweight."

The story may have merit but by giving it a positive tone, it is essentially condoning an increased consumption of sugar. The article neither belongs on the front page nor should the bias be positive.

Anyone else feel this way?

Dr. Barsh

Friday, March 20, 2009

Too Sexy for CPAP

Now don't get me wrong, I am in no way minimizing the importance of CPAP. CPAP is still the first choice for treating obstructive sleep apnea. The problem is that compliance is low. (Compliance is the adherence to the time and pressure setting recommended for a patient to utilize the CPAP unit.) Sometimes lack of compliance is discomfort, sometimes air leakage, sometimes a claustrophobic feeling and sometimes it's just emotionally unsettling.

There are a growing number of couples whose sexuality has been disrupted by sleep problems and even by their solutions. Lack of adequate sleep leaves many too tired for sex, others are so annoyed by a bed partner's snoring that even the thought of sexual intimacy is out of the question. Men who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea can even have physical problems with erectile dysfunction.

For some the CPAP unit itself is the turn-off. The tubing and hum from the machine are a deterrent to sexual intimacy. Comments like "It's like sleeping with DarthVader" and "the most unromantic device ever" can be found in social networking sites all over the Internet. And yet, many physicians fail to offer an alternative.

The only advice offered by physicians usually amounts to "Suck it up and wear the CPAP!" Dr. Michael Breus states at his blog "Certainly you can think of a million reasons - other than a CPAP machine - for why you're not feeling randy. You're simply not trying hard enough (no pun intended)."

Why, when there is an alternative, one that has been researched and approved,one that effectively manages the airway and one that is readily accepted by patients who cannot tolerate CPAP - is it not offered by most of the medical community?

If you feel that you are "Too Sexy for CPAP" ask your physician to refer you to a dentist who has received post-doctoral education in dental sleep medicine for an evaluation to determine if you are a candidate for oral appliance therapy. The dentist you are referred to will work with your physician to find the most appropriate therapy for you.

Dr. Barsh

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Can ENT surgeons provide oral appliance therapy for snoring and sleep apnea?

Recently, I have heard of more and more instances where an ear, nose and throat surgeon is constructing and managing an oral appliance for snoring and sleep apnea. But is an ENT surgeon qualified to diagnose and treat problems of the teeth, supporting structures (gums, bone, periodontium), bite (occlusion) and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) that may develop from an oral appliance? My answer is a resounding "NO"!

Oral appliances are held in place by the teeth - teeth that are periodontally sound, teeth without decay, teeth with stable restorations. The ability of teeth to sustain the demands placed on them by an oral appliance that holds the lower jaw in a forward position can only be determined by a dentist. ENT surgeons do not receive that type of education or training nor are they experientially qualified to make that judgment.

In addition, there are times when even the best oral appliance causes a bite change or discomfort in the temporomandibular joint. Here again, even the finest ENT surgeon has neither the training nor the experience to determine the cause of the problem and the proper treatment of that problem so that essential oral appliance therapy can continue.

Just as the dentist is not qualified to diagnose sleep disorders, ENT surgeons should not attempt therapeutic modalities in an area where they have received neither training nor had experience.

Dr. Barsh

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obesity and the New York Times

It's probably me but at a time when the United States is in the midst of an obesity epidemic in both adults and children, when obesity related sleep apnea and diabetes run rampant is it responsible of the New York Times to headline Whoopie Pies in the Dining Section?

Today's New York Times (March 18, 2009) has an above-the-fold, full color illustration of a cake dish with a mother's hand lifting the lid and a child's hand reaching for one of the sugar and white flour laden "treats." I've been called a curmudgeon before and will be again but I find this immensely distressing. Now we all love a sugary treat but we have been counseled by physicians to restrict their intake. A report online today in The Lancet stated that " A body mass index (BMI) above the normal range is associated with an increased risk of mortality..."

The story from the front page of the Dining Section continues several pages later with an illustration of a 3-4 year child eating one of the "treats" and is accompanied by a recipe that includes 1 cup of brown sugar, 3/4 cup of white sugar and nearly a pound of butter. The recipe is included ostensibly so that Moms can make this sugary, fat-loaded treat for their already overweight, sedentary kids.

Obesity, sleep apnea, diabetes - problems that affect millions of children and adults in this country and cost the health care system billions of dollars. C'mon New York Times, act responsibly.

Dr. Barsh

Monday, March 16, 2009

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in the Over-70 crowd

Grandpa always napping during the day? A new study published in Stroke reports that otherwise healthy elderly people who say that they regularly feel sleepy during the day have a 33% increase in the risk of death compared to those who were not sleepy.

This increase in risk of mortality was true regardless of age, weight, previous cardiovascular disease and in those who snore loudly and those who do not.

Daytime sleepiness, whether it is from work, sleep loss or sleep apnea - the health consequences are all the same: risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart attack and stroke.

At this time, medical school includes only about an hour of education on sleep and dental school includes no education on sleep. That leaves it up to you to bring up the subject of sleepiness with your physician or dentist and to be sure the reasons for daytime sleepiness are explored and treated.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Do you have a family member that snores?

Of course you do. Everyone does.

Snoring can be an indication of a serious medical problem known as sleep apnea in which breathing during sleep starts and stops.

You are much more likely to notice the problems associated with sleep apnea than your husband, wife, boy friend, girl friend or favorite uncle or aunt because they are probably not aware that they stop breathing during sleep. In addition to serious medical problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and obesity you may notice complaints of morning headaches and dry mouth or sore throat in the morning. You may notice that your friend or relative has memory problems, learning problems, personality changes, irritability, feeling depressed, inability to concentrate and mood swings - all of which may indicate that they are having a problem with sleep apnea.

Your physician and many dentists, especially the ones associated with Snoring Isn't Sexy, are able to confirm the existence of a problem with sleep apnea.

Dr. Barsh

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sleep disorders go unrecognized

Last week was National Sleep Awareness week. Somewhere between 50 - 150 million people in the United States alone have some sort of sleep disorder... and fewer than 5% have been diagnosed.

While there are many types of sleep disorder, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, are the most prevalent. Snoring and sleep apnea can be the cause of daytime drowsiness, irritability, headache and acid indigestion. They can also account for the more serious medical problems of stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, heart disease, diabetes and even erectile dysfunction.

If you have been told that you snore, have been told that you stop breathing and gasp for air during sleep, have high blood pressure and feel tired during the day even after a full night's sleep you should check with your physician or specially trained dentist to see if you are suffering from obstuctive sleep apnea.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Heavy Snoring is a Cause of Stroke

For those who may think that snoring is a joke, a scientific article published in the journal Sleep refutes that premise.

The article written by Lee et al is entitled Heavy Snoring as a Cause of Carotid Artery Atherosclerosis. Dr. Lee and the other authors state " Heavy snoring significantly increases the risk of carotid atherosclerosis, and the increase is independent of other risk factors including measures of nocturnal hypoxia and obstructive sleep apnea severity."

What this means is that heavy snoring increase the risk of building up plaque in the arteries that supply the brain increasing the likelihood of stroke. It also says that this risk is separate and apart from any risk caused by decrease in oxygen to the brain at night and how severe the sleep apnea is.

Dr. Lee went on to say "Considering the high prevalence of snoring into the community [included in the study], these findings have substantial public health implications for the prevention of carotid atherosclerosis and the prevention of stroke."

In other words, snoring is no joke - see a sleep specialist or a dentist who has received continuing education in sleep medicine.