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Koala Medical Dental Clinics Provide Treatment for Sleep Disorders. Check Our Services For Phoenix, AZ – Biltmore and Surrounding Areas.

At Our Sleep Center, We Offer FREE CONSULTATION for All Patients Suffering from Sleep Disorders. Call (602) 483-6218

Our Dedicated Staff and Clinic Provide Treatment for TMD/TMJ, Snoring, Sleep Apnea, Headaches, Fatigue & Wellness.  Approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Oral Appliance Therapy is a non-surgical, non-pharmacological option which is a comfortable alternative to CPAP.  We offer following services at our location.

We have solutions for Sleep Apnea. Tired of feeling tired? We can help you enjoy restful nights and wide awake days.

Sleep Apnea Treatment at Koala Center for Sleep Disorders

OSA is characterized by complete airway obstruction. It is often found, but not limited to, older, overweight men and affects significant percentages of women and children as well. If someone in your family has OSA, you will be more likely to have it also. The serious and life-threatening problems start when sleepers begin experiencing apneas, where breathing stops, and hypopneas, where breathing is shallow due to an obstruction. Breathing is usually blocked in the back of the throat because:

  • The tongue and muscles relax during sleep.
  • The lower jaw falls back toward the throat.
  • The airway becomes blocked.

Why Sleep Apnea Occurs

A typical sequence of OSA occurs when a person stops snoring and is silent for seconds, or minutes. The body’s oxygen level drops and the blood pressure rises. The heart is forced to beat faster, causing the pulse rate to increase. The brain may cause the arms, legs or whole body to jerk in an attempt to wake the sleeper so breathing will resume. The silence may end with a loud snort, cough or gasp. This causes the sleeper to wake briefly and begin breathing. Once asleep again, the muscles relax and the airway becomes blocked, cutting off the airway again. This cycle can occur hundreds of times per night. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It ranges in severity from mild to moderate, to severe. Other forms of sleep apnea include Central and Mixed Sleep Apnea.

Signs and Symptoms

Sleep apnea can reveal its presence in a number of ways, and each patient may have a unique combination of symptoms. If you experience any of the following recurring:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning Headaches / Migraines
  • Snoring
  • Weight Gain
  • Short Term Memory Problems
  • Acid Reflux
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Depression
  • Severe Anxiety
  • ADD & ADHD Symptoms
  • Choking/Gasping sensation that wakes you up
  • Inability to sleep through the night
  • Diabetes
  • Sore Throat / Dry Mouth
  • Slow Metablism/ Inability to lose weight
  • Poor job performance or problems in school
  • Mouth Breathing /Difficult Nose Breathing
  • Restless and tossing and turning during sleep
  • Impotence and/or Decreased Sex Drive
  • Mood Swings / Temperamental Behavior

Snorings and Sleep Apnea

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring occurs when the soft tissue structures of the upper airway collapse onto themselves and vibrate against each other as we attempt to move air through them. This produces the sound we know as snoring. Large tonsils, a long soft palate, a large tongue, the uvula, and excess fat deposits in the throat all contribute to airway narrowing and snoring. Usually, the more narrow the airway space, the louder or more habitual the snoring.

 

Snoring Relation to Sleep Apnea

Snoring is the sound of partially obstructed breathing during sleep. While snoring can be harmless, it can also be the sign of a more serious medical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).When Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs, the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat and completely block the airway, which restricts the flow of oxygen. The condition known as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), is midway between primary snoring and true obstructive sleep apnea. People with UARS suffer many of the symptoms of OSA but require special sleep testing techniques.

Diagnosis

Since OSA is a serious medical condition, it must be diagnosed by a physician. Once a diagnosis of sleep apnea is made, the severity of the dysfunction can be classified and treatment options will be given.

Sleep Studies

A sleep study gives the best picture of how you breathe when you sleep. It provides information regarding apneas (when breathing stops) and hypopneas (when breathing is shallow due to an obstruction) as well as pulse, blood pressure and other physiological processes such as REM sleep, EEG and leg or arm jerking. Depending on your circumstances, Dr. Willey will recommend either a PSG or a HST.

Polysomnogram (PSG)

A PSG is a sleep study that is done in a sleep lab overnight and monitored by a trained sleep lab technician. The patient is hooked up with wires via sticky electrodes to the apparatus that will monitor their sleep channels. The physician associated with the sleep lab will examine the results and interpret the data collected.

Home Sleep Test (HST)

Home Sleep Test (HST)An ambulatory sleep study, or HST, is a convenient monitoring system that the patient can use in the comfort of his own bed. The HST is a small, portable unit that utilizes wireless technology. The data recorded during sleep is then downloaded to a computer the next day. This data is analyzed by a board certified sleep physician.

 

Cone Beam Volumetric Tomography (CBVT)

Cone Beam Volumetric Tomography (CBVT)Like a Medical Cat Scan, but emitting dramatically less radiation, the Cone Beam is a powerhouse of technology used to view and analyze airway passages, tissues, structure and anomalies from the neck up. A board certified oral and maxillofacial radiologist performs the CBVT read and provides an exhaustive report of all findings. IIDSM uses this information to provide optimal treatment for patients as well as shares the findings with the patient’s physician to partner in patient care.

We have solutions for Snoring. Tired of waking up your neighbors? We can help you enjoy peaceful nights. FREE Consultation.

Snoring Treatment at Koala Center for Sleep Disorders

Snoring: A Nuisance or a Serious Health Condition?

Snoring is a common problem among all ages and both genders, and it affects approximately 90 million American adults — 37 million on a regular basis according to the National Sleep Foundation.
What Causes Snoring?

“Many of my patients have asked me, ‘What’s the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?’” says Dr. Rod Willey of the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine. “I tell them that when you sleep, the muscles of your throat relax, your tongue falls backward, and Airway becomes narrow and throat tissues become floppy As you breathe, the walls of the throat begin to vibrate – generally when you breathe in, but also, to a lesser extent, when you breathe out.

These vibrations lead to the characteristic sound of snoring. The narrower your airway becomes, the greater the vibration and the louder the snoring,” Willey continues.

“Sometimes the airway completely blocks, causing the person to make a choking or snorting sound and often wake up in an attempt to breathe,” says Willey. “This condition is known as obstructive sleep apnea.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, breathing pauses can last from 10 seconds to a minute or longer. A person with severe sleep apnea may have hundreds of breathing pauses per night. Sleep Apnea is a serious problem in the United States with over 18 million Americans now suffering from the disorder and 90% of them going undiagnosed.

People with obstructive sleep apnea have a higher risk of death than the normal population. The price they pay includes a potentially crippling deterioration in daily functioning, an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke, depression, and death either in accidents or in there sleep. There are terrible costs for the family of the person with obstructive sleep apnea, who may experience irritability, mood changes, lowered sexual drive and capacity, and a reduction of intellectual ability. In addition there are major business, insurance, health, and social costs including the loss of productivity, the impact of accidents caused by a driver or worker falling asleep, and the wasted health care dollars spent on alleviating symptoms like heart disease without treating their possible underlying cause.

Sleeping with a Snorer

Studies show that the person with sleep apnea isn’t the only one waking up or suffering from sleep deprivation. When the apnea is followed by loud snorts and snoring, the bed partner may wake up as often during the night as the person with the actual sleep disorder. One study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found that partners of snorers woke up, at least partially, an average of 21 times an hour, nearly as often as the 27 times the snorers were awakened by their sleep apnea episodes.

In a 2005 study from Finland of 37 male snorers and their bed partners, half of the bed partners reported being disturbed by snoring every night or almost every night. One third of the bed partners reported relationship problems as a result of the snoring.

In a 2003 study published in the journal Chest, doctors from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., tracked the spouses of 54 patients with sleep apnea. Once the sleep apnea and snoring were treated, the spouses’ quality-of-life scores surged more than those who received the actual treatment. And treating the apnea also improved sleepiness scores among the spouses by 20 percent.

Treatment for Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Treatment options for snoring and/or sleep apnea may include lifestyles changes, surgery, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and oral appliance therapy.

Oral Appliance Therapy has proven to be a very viable and scientifically based treatment option for Snoring and/or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement in the 2006 journal “SLEEP” that Oral Appliance Therapy was approved as the first line of treatment for those suffering from mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea and in many cases proving to be effective, in many cases, for severe sleep apnea as well. “The purpose of the oral appliance is to hold the jaw in a position that allows the airway to remain as open and firm as possible during sleep,” says Willey. “Oral appliances are similar to athletic mouth guards, but less bulky and completely non-invasive,” he continues. Oral sleep appliances are covered by most medical insurances and Medicare.

Treatment for TMD / TMJ Disorder.

TMJ Disorder Treatment at Koala Center for Sleep Disorders

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD or TMJ)

If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, back and neck pain, dull aching facial pain, or popping in your jaw you are not alone. Approximately 35 million people in the United States suffer from TMJ problems. While both men and women experience TMJ disorders, the majority of those seeking treatment are women in their 20’s and 30’s. Many believe stress or a busy lifestyle is to blame but do not realize that these symptoms are often related to their jaw muscles and their jaw joint known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. Your bite can be a factor in many types of pain or functional problems because of the inter-relationship of the overall muscle and skeletal system.

What is TMD?

TMD is a condition involving the temporomandibular joint, bone and cartilage resembling a ball-and-socket that sits right above your ear canal on either side of your head. When the joint slips out of position, pain can result, and TMD is characterized by clicking or popping of the jaw when you open or close your mouth, persistent headaches, and sometimes chronic pain. We have many patients who come to us complaining of headaches, jaw and facial pain as well as pain in the ears, never realizing that their pain was caused by a misalignment in their jaw. Some people, however, report no pain, but still have problems using their jaws.

Causes of TMD

The cause of TMD is not clear, but dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.

Macrotrauma to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck such as from a heavy blow or whiplash are common causes of TMD. Other possible microtraumas include:

  • Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
  • Tooth loss, misalignment of teeth
  • Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
  • Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
  • Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
  • Chewing gum excessively or biting your nails can inflame your temporomandibular joint and may cause TMD.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Jaw Joint Pain
  • Jaw Joint Noise or Clicking
  • Limited Mouth Opening
  • Ear Congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in Ears
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Loose Teeth
  • Clenching or Grinding
  • Facial Pain
  • Sensitive Teeth
  • Chewing Difficulties
  • Neck Pain
  • Postural Problems
  • Tingling in Fingertips
  • Hot & Cold Teeth Sensitivity
  • Nervousness

Diagnosis

Diagnosis and treatment for TMD, utilizes advanced technologies such as Cone Beam Volumetric Tomography, K-7 Electromyography and TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation). With TENS, electrodes are applied to the patient’s jaw, neck and shoulder areas. TENS sends a painless electrical current that increases blood flow to the joint, relieves stiffness, improves mobility, and acts as a drug-free pain reliever.

 

Treatment

Step One:

TMD ApplianceBy using TENS, Dr. Willey is able to confuse the muscle memory and find the optimum true rest position for the jaw. A custom made appliance called a neuromuscular orthotic is created to promote healing and maintain the new, corrected bite position.

Step Two:

Permanent stabilization may be necessary and can be determined after Step One. Options may include wearing a long term orthotic, providing orthodontic treatment, placing crowns or veneers on the affected teeth, or creating a neuromuscular denture. With the techniques and technologies of neuromuscular dentistry, we can help you achieve a healthier bite, more comfortable muscles and jaw joints, and a beautiful smile.

We have solutions for fatigue. Tired of feeling tired due to lack of sleep? We can help you enjoy restful nights and wide awake days.

Fatigue and Welness at Koala Center for Sleep Disorders

Relief from Fatigue

Janet had struggled with snoring, daytime fatigue, and difficulty sleeping for years. “At night my husband couldn’t sleep because of my loud snoring,” she says. I often would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath with my heart racing and then I couldn’t go back to sleep. It really scared me.”

During the day Janet was so tired she couldn’t function. “I felt unmotivated, and had a lot of incomplete projects because I just never had enough energy to complete them,” she says.

Janet knew she had to do something about her sleeping problem. She had a sleep test done, and the test results revealed she had Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

There are over 18 million persons in the United States alone who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and sadly, it is estimated that over 90% go undiagnosed. People come to accept that this is normal for them: Never feeling rested, not being able to sleep through the night without waking several times, requiring a daily nap because they feel so tired that they just can’t get through the day without one. Fatigue also causes irritability, lack of concentration and an inability to do the things that they would like to do. If you ask them, they’ll say they are fine. They just don’t know that they can feel any differently. Untreated sleep apnea can also increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, headaches, weight gain, stroke, and drowsy driving.

After reviewing her test results, Janet’s physician prescribed a CPAP machine to treat her sleep apnea.
“I had a hard time wearing the CPAP, and every time I moved the CPAP would make a loud noise and wake my husband up,” says Janet.

After seeing a commercial about a mouth device for sleep apnea, Janet decided to make an appointment. “It looked much more comfortable than the CPAP so I thought I would see if it would work for me,” she says.

“I noticed a difference the first night I slept with the oral appliance. It was so much more comfortable sleeping with the oral appliance. The next day I woke up feeling great!” she continues. “My husband is so happy I have the oral appliance because now both of us are getting a restful night’s sleep,” she says.

Oral Appliance Therapy has proven to be a very viable and scientifically based treatment option for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement in the 2006 journal SLEEP that Oral Appliance Therapy was approved as the first line of treatment for those suffering from mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea and is proving to be effective for severe cases as well. The purpose of the oral appliance is to hold the jaw in a position that allows the airway to remain as open and firm as possible during sleep. Oral appliances are similar to athletic mouth guards, but less bulky and completely non-invasive. Oral appliances are covered by most medical insurances and Medicare.

“I love having the convenience when traveling,” says Janet. “I’m from Kenya, and the village where my family lives doesn’t have electricity. Now I can take my oral appliance with me and I don’t have to worry about a power outlet for a CPAP machine. It’s great!” she continues.

Koala Medical Dental Clinics Provide Treatment for Sleep Disorders. There are over 18 million persons in the United States alone who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and sadly, it is estimated that over 90% go undiagnosed.

Sleep Disorders Treatment at Koala Sleep Clinic

Janet had struggled with snoring, daytime fatigue, and difficulty sleeping for years. “At night my husband couldn’t sleep because of my loud snoring,” she says. I often would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath with my heart racing and then I couldn’t go back to sleep. It really scared me.”

During the day Janet was so tired she couldn’t function. “I felt unmotivated, and had a lot of incomplete projects because I just never had enough energy to complete them,” she says.

Janet knew she had to do something about her sleeping problem. She had a sleep test done, and the test results revealed she had Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

There are over 18 million persons in the United States alone who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and sadly, it is estimated that over 90% go undiagnosed. People come to accept that this is normal for them: Never feeling rested, not being able to sleep through the night without waking several times, requiring a daily nap because they feel so tired that they just can’t get through the day without one. Fatigue also causes irritability, lack of concentration and an inability to do the things that they would like to do. If you ask them, they’ll say they are fine. They just don’t know that they can feel any differently. Untreated sleep apnea can also increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, headaches, weight gain, stroke, and drowsy driving.

After reviewing her test results, Janet’s physician prescribed a CPAP machine to treat her sleep apnea.

“I had a hard time wearing the CPAP, and every time I moved the CPAP would make a loud noise and wake my husband up,” says Janet.

After seeing a commercial about a mouth device for sleep apnea, Janet decided to make an appointment. “It looked much more comfortable than the CPAP so I thought I would see if it would work for me,” she says.

“I noticed a difference the first night I slept with the oral appliance. It was so much more comfortable sleeping with the oral appliance. The next day I woke up feeling great!” she continues. “My husband is so happy I have the oral appliance because now both of us are getting a restful night’s sleep,” she says.

Oral Appliance Therapy has proven to be a very viable and scientifically based treatment option for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement in the 2006 journal SLEEP that Oral Appliance Therapy was approved as the first line of treatment for those suffering from mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea and is proving to be effective for severe cases as well. The purpose of the oral appliance is to hold the jaw in a position that allows the airway to remain as open and firm as possible during sleep. Oral appliances are similar to athletic mouth guards, but less bulky and completely non-invasive. Oral appliances are covered by most medical insurances and Medicare.

“I love having the convenience when traveling,” says Janet. “I’m from Kenya, and the village where my family lives doesn’t have electricity. Now I can take my oral appliance with me and I don’t have to worry about a power outlet for a CPAP machine. It’s great!” she continues.

CPAP Alternative at Koala Center for Sleep Disorders.

CPAP Alternative at Koala Center for Sleep Disorders

Comfortable Alternative to CPAP

Sam, a retired utilities supervisor had struggled with snoring, headaches, daytime fatigue, and high blood pressure for years. His job required him to be on call 24/7 which only increased his fatigue.

“I guess I learned to adapt to the constant fatigue,” says Sam. “Every Wednesday we would have a meeting, and I would doze off in the middle of the meeting,” he continued. “Somehow I would still answer the questions my manager asked, but had no recollection of doing so.”

Sam’s snoring got so bad, his wife had to sleep in another room. “Our pet parrot would even mimic the sound of my snoring, but on a much louder note,” says Sam.

“When Sam would struggle to breathe at night, it really worried me,” his wife says. “He would even doze off while driving, which really scared me.”

With the advice of his physician, Sam decided to have an overnight sleep test. The results confirmed that he had severe sleep apnea and stopped breathing over 60 times an hour.

Sam’s physician suggested that he try Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) to treat his sleep apnea.

“I always felt tense when sleeping with the CPAP machine, and could never relax,” says Sam. “The pressure of the CPAP made it hard to breath. I never felt like it was that sanitary either when I would get sick.

“When I complained to my wife about the CPAP, she thought I wasn’t giving it a chance, so I said she should try it on,” he says. “She put it on, but only lasted 15 seconds or so, and admitted that it was pretty difficult to wear.”

After 3 months of battling with the CPAP, Sam knew he needed something else. “Because I had a deviated septum, my physician said I could try a surgery to remove the uvula in the back of my throat and move my soft palate forward. The surgery sounded awful, and I decided against it,” says Sam.

“My blood pressure was out of control, even with continual increases in my medication,” says Sam. Sam’s physician referred him to a cardiologist who recommended he see Dr. Rod Willey, of the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine for a dental sleep appliance since he couldn’t wear the CPAP.

“Within the first month of using the dental appliance I noticed a huge difference in my energy levels and quality of life!” he says. “My wife is so happy because I don’t fall asleep immediately after dinner,” he continues. “We can actually enjoy spending some time together.”

“I know both of my brothers have sleep apnea, as well as some of my kids,” says Sam. “It really concerns me, because I know just how serious sleep apnea can be. Both of my parents died from heart problems at an early age, and I suspect they had sleep apnea too,” he continues. “I have told my family about the great results I have received from the appliance, and hope they can experience the same!

Oral Appliance therapy is covered by most medical insurances and Medicare. For more information on oral appliance therapy contact Dr. Rod Willey at the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine. As a general dentist, with a Diplomate from the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines, Dr. Willey has limited his practice to the treatment of snoring, sleep apnea, and TMJ Disorders with oral appliance therapy.

 

Oral Appliances for Sleep Disorders & Treatment.

Patients who cannot tolerate or refuse to use CPAP now have a non-surgical alternative.

Oral Appliances at Koala Center for Sleep Disorders

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliances are worn during sleep to treat snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. These devices are similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. Oral Appliance Therapy involves the selection, design, fitting and use, and professional titration of a custom designed oral sleep appliance that is worn during sleep. The job of the oral appliance is to prevent the obstruction which occurs when the lower jaw, tongue and tissues in the back of the throat become relaxed during sleep and collapse into the narrow airway space.

Oral Appliances are indicated for use in patients with:

  •  Mild to moderate OSA who prefer then to CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
  •  Severe OSA who do not respond to, are not appropriate candidates for, or who fail treatment attempts with CPAP
    Oral appliances may be used alone or in combination with other means of treating OSA. These means include general health, weight management, surgery, or CPAP. Oral appliances work in several ways:
  •  Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula
  •  Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
  •  Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue
    Oral Appliances should be fitted by qualified dental personnel who are trained and experienced in sleep apnea and the overall care of oral health, the temporomandibular joint, dental occlusion and associated structures. We will work with your physician as part of the medical team in your diagnosis, treatment, and on-going care. Initiation of oral appliance therapy can take from several weeks to several months to complete. Once maximum medical improvement is reached, a follow up sleep study with the oral appliance is place is done to determine medical efficacy. Dr. Willey will continue to monitor patient adherence, evaluate device deterioration or maladjustment, and to evaluate the health of the oral structures and integrity of the bite every six months the first year, and then yearly thereafter.

Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy

  •  Most people acclimate quickly to wearing Oral Appliances
  •  Patients who cannot tolerate or refuse to use CPAP now have a non-surgical alternative
  •  Oral Appliances are small, convenient and easy to carry when traveling and require no electricity
  •  Bed partner approved, discreet and quiet
  •  Easy to clean, low maintenance
  •  Denture friendly

Follow Up Care
On-going care, including short- and long-term follow-up is an essential step in the treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Oral Appliance Therapy. Follow-up care serves to assess the treatment of your sleep disorder, the condition of your appliance, your physical response to your appliance, and to ensure that it is comfortable and effective.

Continuous Positive Airway Presure (CPAP)
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is pressurized air generated from a bedside machine. The air is delivered through a tube, connected to a mask, covering the nose. The force of the pressurized air splints the airway open. The CPAP opens the airway like air into a balloon; when air is blown into the balloon, it opens and gets wider. This is exactly how CPAP clears the airway.

Surgical Procedures
In addition to Oral Appliance Therapy, dentists who are oral and maxillofacial surgeons may consider a variety of methods to evaluate, diagnose and treat upper airway obstruction. These dental specialists treat upper airway obstructive disorders by utilizing both minimally invasive procedures as well as more complex surgery, including jaw advancement. Additionally, an ENT specialist may evaluate you for other types of surgery, mainly the removal of the excess tissues in the throat. It may be necessary to remove tonsils and adenoids (especially in children), the uvula, or even parts of the soft palate and the throat.

 

Weight Loss Program Offered at Koala Center for Sleep Disorders.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Ignites Weight Loss, Finally Living Again.

Weight Loss at Koala Center for Sleep Disorders

How Hormones Affect Your Sleep and Weight

Debra, a 48 year old registered nurse had never struggled with her weight as a child. “I think it started when I was in nursing school and continued when I began working nights.” Debra remembers eating to stay awake, eating to go to sleep and being tired. “I was tired when I woke up. I was tired all day long!” After work, Deb explains she had no energy to do any of the things she wanted to do or enjoyed. “It was terrible,” said Deb, “I just wanted the old Deb back. The one who had energy and enjoyed life.”

Deb’s struggles continued for more than twenty years until recently when she attended a free public seminar discussing the dangers of untreated sleep apnea and a new treatment alternative, oral appliance therapy. “I had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and did try the CPAP, but I just couldn’t make myself use it,” states Deb, so she was very interested to learn that there was an alternative. Deb received her oral appliance on August 21st of this year and cannot believe the difference it has made in her life. “It’s like I had been asleep for twenty eight years and suddenly woke up. I have energy! I’m not tired all of the time! I have my life back.” Oral appliances are worn during sleep to prevent airflow from being blocked at the back of the throat.

Deb lost 43 pounds

One of the most visible side effects of finally getting a proper night’s sleep has been an incredible weight loss. “So far, I have lost 43 pounds and I’m continuing to lose more!” Deb has had a gym membership for about five years, but never had any energy to go work out. “Now I go to the gym, run errands, visit my parents and realize that all of a sudden it’s ten o’clock and time to go to bed.”

When asked if she feels that the oral appliance was a catalyst for her weight loss, Deb will tell you “Absolutely! It gave me the spark of energy I needed to change my behaviors and start on a positive path. Now after I’ve used the elliptical machine at the gym, I don’t want to eat something that will take away all of the hard work that I’ve just done. Treating my sleep apnea has had a snow ball effect to make positive changes in my life.”

It makes sense that someone with no energy would have a hard time losing weight. If their lack of energy is due to an untreated sleep disorder, there may be more working against them than fatigue. Research suggests that even a modest amount of sleep deprivation can increase appetite by altering body chemistry.

How Hormones Affect Your Sleep

Can you remember a time when you slept really poorly and the next day you were hungry all day no matter what you ate? You were likely under the influence of leptin and ghrelin.

Experts agree that when you don’t get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food. The two acting together can set the stage for unwanted weight gain. If a person has struggled with unwanted weight gain or the inability to lose weight, an untreated sleep disorder may be to blame and should be discussed with your healthcare professional.

Deb is overwhelmed by how great she feels. She only wishes she had discovered this treatment option years ago.

Signs You May have Sleep Apnea

1. Loud, Heavy Snoring
2. Periods of Not Breathing During Sleep
3. High Blood Pressure
4. Easily Frustrated/ Irritable/ Depression
5. Drowsy Driving
6. Morning Headaches
7. Heart Disease
8. Weight Gain
9. Inability to Lose Weight
10. Diabetes
11. Acid Reflux
12. Not Feeling Rested after Full Night’s Sleep