In support of National Sleep Awareness Week media outlets across the country are running special programing and raising awareness of sleep disorders.  With over 80 Million  people undiagnosed with OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) it's assumed more physicians would implement greater OSA treatments in their practices.  Interestingly enough, dentists are among the small group of practitioners stepping up, to take on the sleepy killer, OSA.  Dental Continuing Education company, Sleep Group Solutions and Dental Sleep Medicine Expert, Dr. Michael Hnat, release the top ten signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.

“In sleep apnea chronic, low oxygen levels in the blood stress brain and heart function,” explains Dr. Hnat a dentist from Pennsylvania who treats and screens for Sleep Apnea in his general dentist practice, Progressive Dental Solutions.  “Research  indicates that ninety-percent of individuals with the disease (OSA) are still undiagnosed.  Dentists-qualified in sleep medicine-can custom fabricate a simple device worn over the teeth that keeps the tongue from blocking the airway allowing for adequate  breathing and oxygen levels while asleep,” comments Dr. Hnat on his treatment of OSA.  Sleep Apnea is a dangerous disorder which comes with some serious side effects that span from heart attack to death.  Dr. Hnat emphasizes the importance of getting screened by your general dentist or Sleep Doctor as the first line of defense.  If you’re not sure you, or your bed partner have OSA, Dr. Hnat has composed a list of symptoms and signs to look out for.  

Dr. Hnat’s list of top 10 signs you may have OSA, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (in no particular order):

Snoring

Daytime Fatigue and sleepiness

Obesity

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Repeated awakenings during sleep

Depression

Irritability

Headaches

Decreased Concentration, focus and memory loss

Rapid Heartbeat

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor or dentist.  From your first appointment with your dentist/doctor a take home sleep test will be given to ensure apnea is present.  From there a Board Certified ENT or Sleep Doctor will interpret the sleep study and communicate with your dentist, the diagnosis. “My interpretation of the home sleep study or one done in a sleep lab establishes the diagnosis and helps guide treatment.  Both my Dental colleagues and I follow the recommended guidelines which suggest oral appliances and in some cases CPAP for patients with mild to moderately severe sleep apnea,” says Dr. Greg Carnevale, an Otolaryngologist-Head and Neck Surgeon and Sleep Medicine specialist who works closely with his Dental Sleep Medicine colleagues to help diagnose the best means to treat sleep apnea patients.  

If your current physician is not treating for sleep in house, please log onto  1800SleepLab.com to find a physician screening and treating near you.

About Dr. Gregory Carnevale

Gregory G. Carnevale, M.D., F.A.A.O.A. is a board certified physician in the specialty of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. His practice, Finger Lakes Allergy Clinic is located in Geneva New York.  He received his medical education at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, NY, where he received his Doctor of Medicine Degree, completed a year of General Surgery and four years of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree, Cum Laude, from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Dr. Carnevale is licensed to practice medicine and surgery in both New York State and Florida.  Dr. Carnevale is also Managing Partner at InterpStudies.com.

About Dr. Hnat and Progressive Dental Solutions

Michael F. Hnat, D.M.D. has advanced training and certifications in the field of dental sleep medicine. An integral focus of his McMurray practice is oral sleep appliance therapy. He is an active member of The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and member and preferred provider clinic from Sleep Group Solutions – national medical dental sleep medicine network. For more information visit ProgressiveDentalSolutions.com or call 724-942-5630.