Sleep Apnea




Sleep Apnea

1601 Mill Rock Way, Bakersfield CA











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Southwest Family Dentistry      1601 Mill Rock Way        Bakersfield, CA 93311              661-833-0101        





















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Sleep apnea raises death risk 46 percent: study

AFP/File –Persons afflicted with severe breathing disorders during sleep face an increased 

Severe sleep apnea raises the risk of dying early by 46 percent, U.S. researchers reported Monday, but said people with milder sleep-breathing problems do not share that risk.

They said people with severe breathing disorders during sleep were more likely to die from a variety of causes than similar people without such sleep disorders. The risks are most obvious in men aged 40 to 70, Naresh Punjabi of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and colleagues found.

Sleep apnea is caused by a collapse of the upper airway during sleep. Strong snoring can be a symptom but what makes apnea different are numerous brief interruptions in breathing.

Sleep apnea is closely linked with obesity, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke, but researchers have not been able to clearly quantify how much more likely it makes a person to die.

Punjabi's team studied 6,400 men and women for an average of eight years. Those who started with major sleep apnea were 46 percent more likely to die from any cause, regardless of age, sex, race, weight or smoking, they reported in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.

Men aged 40 to 70 with severe sleep-disordered breathing were twice as likely to die from any cause as healthy men the same age, they reported in the study -- available online at

"Among men, 42.9 percent did not have sleep-disordered breathing, 33.2 percent had mild disease, 15.7 percent had moderate disease, and 8.2 percent had severe disease," they wrote.

They said about 25 percent of the women had mild sleep apnea, 8 percent had moderate disease and 3 percent had severely disordered breathing.

The researchers, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, said people with milder sleep-breathing disorders were not more likely to die early.

The NHLBI estimates 12 million adult Americans have sleep apnea, but most are not diagnosed or treated. The National Sleep Foundation puts the number at 18 million.

"In severe sleep apnea a patient's airway is blocked while the patient suffers for 20 to 30 seconds and wakes up.

"When it becomes this frequent -- 30 times per hour -- about every two minutes it is severe sleep apnea and can become a problem," said Dr. David Rapoport of New York University, who worked on the study.

"The best treatment for sleep apnea is weight loss. However, the most successful treatment can be a nasal CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask that applies pressure to help keep the airways of a patient open while they sleep, allowing normal breathing," he added in a statement.

"Another possible helpful treatment is surgery. That may include tonsil removal," said Rapoport. "A mouth guard that pulls a patient's mouth forward is another option."

A small Canadian company, Victhom Human Bionics Inc., has filed a patent on a new device to detect sleep apnea, which must usually be diagnosed in a sleep lab and Medtronic Inc. makes sleep apnea devices.

Physical Traits Tied to Risk Factors 

*     Possible genetic link -- If you are related to someone who has sleep apnea, chances are you are at a higher risk of developing the disorder

*     More prevalent in men than women

*     Higher risk among African-Americans, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders than in Caucasians

*     Increases as you get older

*     Post-menopausal women

*     People with large or thick necks (17 inches or greater in a man, or 16 inches or greater in a woman)

*     People with a large overbite, recessed chin or small jaw

*     People with small airways in their noses, throats or mouths

*     Adults with enlarged uvulas -- the tissue flap that hangs down in the back of the throat, large tongue or soft palate

*     Babies and small children with swollen tonsils

Other lifestyle factors and health conditions that increase the risk include:

*     Obesity

*     High Blood Pressure

*     Heart Failure and Stroke

*     Smoking

*     Alcohol Use

There are treatments for sleep apnea.  One is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): This method is difficult for some people to get use to. At Southwest Family Dentistry Dr. Ching is certified to custom fit patient’s with a Mandibular Advancement Device: Dental or mandibular devices are used for patients diagnosed with mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea. The devices work by helping keep the airway open and preventing the tongue from blocking the airway.






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