One of the Hamann Family themes is rest: rejuvenating, life-giving rest, for both body and soul. Regrettably, there is an unprecedented non-financial debt crisis in America — sleep debt! The CDC reported last year that 84 million Americans are sleep deprived. Yes, one third of Americans are chronically tired. The detrimental impact on human flourishing is profound and far-reaching. Raising our six kids with a priority on eight or more hours of sleep per night required a bedtime rhythm for all of us. Rest and intentional rejuvenation became an integral part of our family culture.
Not surprisingly, improving sleep quality for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has become a professional passion and focus. My postgraduate journey has involved hundreds of hours of continuing education courses mastering sleep physiology and learning how to optimally treat OSA with oral appliances. It was an honor to become a Diplomat of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy after passing their written exam and presentation of a series of successfully treated OSA patients. It is stimulating to network with colleagues with similar interests and passion. It is incredibly rewarding to give life back to a patient who is chronically tired because of being awakened multiple times per hour when unable to breathe. Equally enjoyable is to be the hero for a spouse or significant other who is sleep deprived because of a partner’s snoring! I may not be able to persuade this generation that viewing phone, computer, and TV screens late into the night steals hours of needed sleep and blocks melatonin release, further preventing the normal circadian rhythm, but I can measurably reduce the number of times awakening is caused by the collapsing of the airway and significantly reduce snoring!
Symptoms of OSA include snoring, gasping, stopping breathing, morning headaches, daytime tiredness, weight gain, and jaw problems including teeth grinding, muscle spasms and joint pain.
Collaborating with physicians who make the diagnosis of OSA is particularly important for the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) intolerant patient. The primary medical treatment prescribed for obstructive sleep apnea requires sleeping with a mask over the nose and mouth which provides continuous pressure in the back of the throat to prevent collapsing when the muscles relax and create an airway obstruction. The masks work well when worn! Unfortunately, half or more of patients are unable to wear the mask and continue being tired! These patients are ideal candidates for an oral appliance.
Effective OSA treatment can reduce life-threatening health risks, including a 70 percent greater chance of being in an accident. Other preventable risks of OSA include a five times higher probability of dying from hearth disease or failure; a two and a half times greater risk of developing cancer, and a four times higher likelihood of having a stroke. One surprising discovery for me was learning that when hearing someone “died in their sleep,” you should be thinking of Obstructive Sleep Apnea as the most likely root cause.
Real life testimonials on OSA and headache treatment
When it comes to quality of life and health, snoring is more than just a nuisance. Koala patient, Kevin, sought relief for loud snoring that affected the sleep of others sleeping near him. He also suffered from other symptoms such as waking up unrefreshed, headaches, and jaw pain. According to Kevin: “I have spent more than 20 years trying to solve my TMJ/snoring problem. I have had surgery, orthodontia, chiropractors, and even a few infomercial products, but nothing has worked until now! I have already recommended Koala to friends.”
At his last follow-up appointment, he reported feeling complete relief from snoring and pain, plus an increase in energy during the day and
Dan came into Koala with moderate OSA, having previously suffered a heart attack. While he knew his condition would benefit from treatment — he refused to get treatment if it meant wearing a CPAP device. After treatment with an oral appliance at Koala, Dan claims that his symptoms have been resolved: “I feel more energized, need less nap time, am more loving to my wife and honestly more happy.” Furthermore, the primary care provider who originally recommended a CPAP for Dan is thrilled with his Sleep Test results wearing the oral appliance and the health improvements from his treatment at Koala.
Jaw pain patient, Tameko, is a heartfelt example of the connection between oral health and overall well-being. This Koala patient’s facial pain and limited jaw mobility used to bring her to tears. In Tameko’s words: “I was constantly in pain. I could barely open my mouth and my face hurt all of the time. It hurt to eat or speak. Koala has changed my life! The [oral TMJ] appliance has drastically improved my day-to-day life.” Just three weeks after her initial treatment, Tameko went from severe pain; jaw clenching and grinding; and frequent headaches to full jaw mobility and almost no pain. Koala Associate, Dr. Aftahi, reports that the patient could initially only open her mouth enough to fit a straw or small spoon. After treatment, Dr. Aftahi confirms that Tameko can eat normally and appears happier and more radiant.
What to Do if You’re Tired of Suffering
Do you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea or experience symptoms such as snoring, gasping, stopping breathing, morning headaches, daytime tiredness, weight gain, and jaw problems including pain, teeth grinding, and joint issues? Have you been recommended CPAP therapy but just don’t want to go through with it? If so, you are potentially risking your well being and your life by not seeking treatment.
Don’t suffer any longer from untreated sleep and oral health symptoms. We offer safe and comfortable treatment options covered by most medical insurance, including Medicare. Contact us to learn more about therapies that could resolve your symptoms and drastically improve your quality of life.
For more information on oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea, TMJ Disorders, or facial and neck pain, please call
602-357-9845 or visit KoalaBiltmore.com. Koala Center for Sleep Disorders is located at 4235 N. 32nd Street, Suite A in Phoenix.
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