We all think of dentists the same way. They are there to assist us in keeping our teeth healthy so we don’t have to keep our teeth in a jar later on. A quick online search will provide you with a list of qualified dentists around your area. They all will have their talents in the dentistry field and provide people with quality service for the most part.
However, a New Jersey based dentist, Dr. Avi Weisfogel, is making huge strides outside the world of dentistry. He has taken his knowledge about the medical field and has focused on fixing a serious problem that puts many people at risk. Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that many people are unaware exists.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
How many times in our families have we joked over the years about somebody’s snoring. It has become an ongoing comedy routine for some people. “Always go to sleep before Dad because you will never be able to fall asleep after his snoring kicks in!” The problem is that snoring can be a minor nuisance or greatly affect someone’s health. All snoring has been lumped in together. There is a huge difference, though, between a bit of noise being made while sleeping and gasping for air to breathe in a desperate attempt to get air back in your lungs.
Sleep apnea is a common medical disorder in which the person has one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while they continue sleeping. Breathing pauses can last from just a few seconds to extended minutes. The pauses may occur up to 30 times or more an hour. Normal breathing then usually starts again, possibly with a loud snort or coughing and choking sound. It can be present in adults and children with most cases not even being diagnosed. In fact, the people experiencing sleep apnea seldom even remember the struggles they encounter throughout the night.
Hearing someone struggle nightly with sleep apnea can be quite a traumatic thing. Every time they stop breathing, you are never quite certain that they will start back up again. When the choking sounds begin, you are actually fearful for their life. Having a partner with this disorder can definitely put a strain on a marriage. It is difficult for either person to get a restful night sleep when knowing that one of them is at great risk.
Holding your breath involuntarily while sleeping is not a minor thing. The effects can be far more ranging than just being groggy the next day from a restless night of sleep. Sleep apnea can cause a person to have serious mood swings and irritability. Untreated, sleep apnea can have life-shortening consequences. It can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, heart attack, contribute to diabetes, depression, and other ailments.
Is there a Way to Avoid Sleep Apnea?
The short answer is no. Anyone can have it. However, it is more common in overweight and obese people. This is due to the fact that the extra weight obstructs the airway more. If a person has sleep apnea and is overweight, changing their lifestyle could not only cure it, but save their life as well. But for others that have it, it can be more difficult to get rid of.
A neck larger than 16 inches around in women or 17 inches around in men may also increase the risk of breathing obstruction during sleep. For similar reasons, risk can increase in patients with genetically narrow airways, strictures, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, or chronic nasal congestion. If a person has a history of smoking this can increase the risk as well. Men over the age of 40 are particularly susceptible to sleep apnea. If they display signs of having it, then definitely get it checked out by a medical professional.
Enter Dr. Weisfogel
Not only is Dr. Weisfogel a dentist, but he is also a sleep apnea guru. He was recognizing problems that his patients were having, and he decided to respond to it instead of saying it was not part of his field. Weisfogel created the Healthy Heart Sleep organization that is comprised of a large network of sleep specialists and dentists that are all trying to conquer the problem of sleep apnea. By sharing their own experiences and knowledge, doctors are able to work together much more effectively. Healthy Heart Sleep has become an extremely valuable resource that has helped the lives of people who suffer from various sleep-related conditions, including sleep apnea.
Dr. Weisfogel’s current practice is Dental Sleep Masters. Dental Sleep Masters is an organization that provides innovative healthcare services to people with sleep disorders and problems. Weisfogel specializes in oral application therapy. This sleep apnea treatment attempts to correct moderate anatomical irregularities that can lead to the disorder. For example, an oral application may be used to adjust the position of the tongue flaps or tonsils to help clear the airway for the individuals. The specific treatment varies with each patient, but Dr. Weisfogel and his team of professionals often find ways to assist in each person getting a more restful sleep.
Though it took two years and significant financial contributions, Weisfogel brought about a program that is used to diagnose and treat more than one hundred oral appliance patients per month. He has found new ways to find undiagnosed sleep apnea patients, and he is sharing his knowledge with others. His plan though is to diagnose and treat even more patients that might not even know that they suffer from this disorder.
Dr. Weisfogel has been teaching this program for the past year couple years to other medical professionals. He is setting his sights on reaching and helping more dentists, physicians, and patients with this model that improves the health care distribution in the world of all sleep medicine and devices, including treating sleep apnea. His goal is to help people that suffer with these sleeping disorders, and through helping them, he is helping their family as well.