Sleep Apnea Dentist

  • CPAP Crisis Creates Chaos for Apnea Victims and Snorers!

    Original Article | The People’s Pharmacy

    Do you know someone who snores and/or stops breathing temporarily? They could have sleep apnea. Why is there a CPAP crisis? Who is at fault?

    According to the AMA“About 30 million people in the United States have sleep apnea, but only 6 million are diagnosed with the condition.” People with sleep apnea may stop breathing many times during the night. These episodes can last a few seconds or as long as a minute or two. They can occur dozens of times an hour. There is a CPAP crisis going on because many patients are having a hard time getting safe CPAP devices. Disclaimer: we do not know who made the CPAP device in the photo. The illustration is not intended as criticism.

    What’s It Like To Suffer Sleep Apnea?

    I have tried holding my breath while timing it with my smart phone stopwatch. It starts to get uncomfortable around 25 seconds and I have to take a breath around 30 seconds. I have a hard time imagining what it would be like to go longer than that.

    Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by the collapse of muscles in the throat. This can block the airway. The result is reduced oxygenation of the circulating blood.

    Patients with OSA often suffer from daytime sleepiness and brain fog. That makes them more prone to accidents. They are also more likely to develop hypertension, strokes, irregular heart rhythms or heart attacks.

    Symptoms can include noisy snoring interrupted by gasping or gagging sounds. For a bed partner, this can be scary and/or annoying. It’s hard to sleep when the person nearby is “sawing wood” and intermittently gasping for air. People with OSA may also complain about frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom to pee, morning headaches, daytime irritability and “cotton mouth” upon awakening.

    Treating OSA and the CPAP Crisis:

    To treat sleep apnea, doctors prescribe machines that pump air in a continuous stream that can help keep the airways open. They are called CPAP devices, for continuous positive airway pressure. Some people find the devices noisy and uncomfortable. You have to wear a kind of face mask that pushes air into the throat and lungs.

    Others find the devices improve the quality of their lives. Here is just one of the hundreds of messages we have received on our website:

    Jerry reports that CPAP made a difference:

    “Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can cause frequent nighttime urination. After being diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, I was treated using CPAP therapy.

    “The very first night after getting my CPAP machine I slept for a full 7 hours. Before treatment, I was waking and passing large amounts of urine every 1-2 hours. My blood pressure went from high to normal, and my heart rate during exercise dropped by 20 heartbeats.”

    The CPAP Crisis Is Creating Chaos:

    Needless to say, people with serious sleep apnea rely on these machines and are well aware that their lives depend on them. Just imagine the panic they might feel if their machines were no longer available.

    That has happened to far too many patients over the last year, as the company that dominates the industry, Philips Respironics, fumbled a recall of faulty CPAP devices.

    Here is what one reader wrote us about the CPAP crisis:

    “My husband has sleep apnea, so he has used a CPAP for over 12 years. Recently his machine stopped working. When he contacted his supplier, he was told his machine had been recalled and he would have to wait for a replacement. They advised him to contact the manufacturer, Philips.

    “He called Philips, and after following the instructions to restart the machine, was told it was not working. That was July 11. We had just gotten home from the ER where we both tested positive for COVID and received infusions. So he has been without his CPAP since then.

    Anxiety interferes with sleep:

    “He is very aware of the dangers of not using the CPAP machine and has been sleeping very uncomfortably since then. I have been anxious as well, just listening to his snoring. Here’s hoping he does not stop breathing, as he used to do before getting the CPAP.

    “I have heard that it can take up to a year to get a replacement. Surely, he is not alone in this situation. What is a person with sleep apnea supposed to do? A person at his pulmonologist’s office said they are currently diagnosing new patients with severe sleep apnea. These patients are being placed on waiting lists.

    “To my mind, this situation is similar to not having baby formula available. Apparently, there are currently just two companies in the USA who manufacture CPAP devices. What can patients do without this important appliance? Doctors warn that using the machine every night is of critical importance. What can be done to help so many people in need?

    “I am hoping that sleep apnea patients can soon get the machines they desperately need for a good safe night’s sleep.”

    How Has the FDA Fumbled the CPAP Crisis?

    Our reader is right to compare the situation with CPAP machines to the baby formula shortage. Both result from the FDA’s inadequate oversight. In our opinion, the FDA has fumbled a few too many oversight responsibilities.

    That’s not just our opinion. An article in JAMA Internal Medicine, July 26, 2021 reviewed the FDA’s oversight of MAUDE (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience). The agency relies on device manufacturers, distributors, physicians, patients, hospitals and other health care facilities to submit reports of problems. Unfortunately, the FDA only pays attention to deaths, rather than all serious complaints.

    The analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine points out that:

    “For the overall sample, the percentage of reports with deaths that were not classified as deaths was 23%, suggesting that approximately 31,552 reports in our sample had deaths that were classified in other categories.”

    If the FDA ignores serious complaints and overlooks deaths with misleading codes, it risks leaving flawed medical devices on the market long past their “use by” date. You can read more about the agency’s fumbling and bumbling at this link.

    What Went Wrong With CPAP Machines”

    On July 29, 2021, the FDA issued an announcement about problems with Philips Respironics BiPap and CPAP machines.

    On May 19, 2022 the agency updated its warning:

    “Philips Respironics (Philips) voluntarily recalled certain ventilators, bi-level positive airway pressure (also known as Bilevel PAP, BiPAP, or BPAP) machines, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines in June 2021 due to potential health risks. The polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam used in these medical devices to lessen sound and vibration can break down. If the foam breaks down, black pieces of foam, or certain chemicals that are not visible, could be breathed in or swallowed by the person using the device.”

    The Washington Post reported on July 29, 2022 that:

    “Today, those machines are at the heart of one of the biggest medical device debacles in decades.”

    “If inhaled or swallowed, the emissions could cause headaches, asthma, lung problems and even cancer, the company warned in launching a massive recall. The Food and Drug Administration classified the recall as the most serious type, saying “use of these devices may cause serious injuries or deaths.”

    According to the Washington Post, millions of patients have been left in limbo while they wait for their devices to be repaired or replaced.

    “In May, the FDA announced it had received 21,000 reports, including 124 deaths, concerning the breakdown of the polyester-based polyurethane foam in sleep apnea machines and ventilators during the past year — a sharp increase from 30 the previous decade.”

    How long has the maker of CPAP machines known there was a problem? Why didn’t the FDA discover this problem on its own? What should it do about the CPAP crisis?

    Some Recommendations from The People’s Pharmacy:

    Here are some of our suggestions:

    • 1) The president should invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the manufacture of chips specifically for these medical devices.
    • 2) Philips Respironics should prioritize delivering CPAP machines to people who are most vulnerable. The company should also communicate directly to every patient.
    • 3) The FDA should be more proactive regarding critical medical devices so that a life-threatening shortage of this sort never happens again.

    What Do You Think?

    We would love to read your thoughts about the CPAP crisis in the comment section below. Do you know someone who snores and has obstructive sleep apnea? Have they ever used a CPAP machine? Has their device been recalled? What are they doing now?

    If you think this article has merit, please send it to friends and family. We suspect that someone you know snores, has a sleep apnea and/or has a CPAP-type machine. They (and their health care providers) may not know about the problems with these devices. It’s super easy to share. Just scroll to the top of the page and click on the icons for email, Twitter and Facebook.

    While you are at it, please encourage your contacts to sign up for our free online newsletter. You may have noticed that Google accepts a lot of drug and device ads. Is it any wonder that articles like this disappear almost without a trace? The only way your acquaintances can read our independent voice is to subscribe to our newsletter at this link. Thank you for supporting our work!

    Contact us TODAY! Our oral devices can help.

  • Why Potatoes Are the Perfect Food for Sleep 

    Original Article | by Stephanie Eckelkamp · March 8, 2022, The Wellnest

    If you struggle with sleep, chances are you’ve tried it all: eye masks, reducing nighttime screen timeguided meditations, and more. But did you know nutrition can be another tool to help you slumber?

    Sweet potatoes, in particular, are a lovely little package of good carbs and sleep-promoting micronutrients. While it may seem like a strange pick, there are a few reasons why potatoes are some of the best foods to eat for better sleep. 


    study in the Journal of Sleep Research found carbohydrates were associated with less difficulty staying asleep—but only complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are carbs composed of fibers and starches (think: the kind you find in whole plant foods such as potatoes and other veggies, legumes, and whole grains). They digest more slowly than the simple carbs present in sugary foods, refined grains, and baked goods. This means complex carbs lead to a slower, steadier rise and fall in blood sugar, not the type of blood sugar surge and subsequent drop that interferes with sleep. 

    Sugary foods and refined carbs, on the other hand, can cause a blood sugar spike and subsequent drop about four hours later—and this drop is associated with increased production of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which promotes alertness. Translation: Not a recipe for good sleep.


    Sweet potatoes still have a moderate impact on blood sugar, but that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the nutrients they contain make them one of the best tryptophan foods for sleep. “They have the right amount of complex carbohydrates to elicit an insulin response that clears the way for the amino acid tryptophan to flood the brain with less competition from other amino acids,” says Judes Scharman Draughon, MS, RDN, author of 12 Fixes to Healthy. “More tryptophan in the brain helps promote more serotonin production and consequently more of the sleep-enhancing hormone melatonin.” 


    Think of sweet potatoes like a natural (and delicious) sleep supplement. “They have the right balance of nutrients like potassium and vitamin B6 to stimulate the production of the sleep hormones serotonin and melatonin,” says Scharman Draughon. Sweet potatoes also contain magnesium, which aids in the production of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which calms nerve activity and helps you relax. 

    What about white potatoes? They’re not as nutrient-rich, but as long as you’re not eating them in the form of French fries, go ahead and give them a try. “White potatoes produce similar sleep effects as sweet potatoes, but sweet potatoes contain more tryptophan than white potatoes and a nice dose of beta-carotene,” says Scharman Draughon.


    Whatever potato you choose, don’t eat it too late in the evening. “Eating any food within 60 minutes of going to bed can negatively affect your sleep,” says Scharman Draughon. Your best bet: Incorporate it into your dinner several hours before bed, or (if you’re still hungry) have half a potato as a small late-night snack a bit closer to bedtime. 

    “Eating a potato for dinner or at least four hours before bed may promote better sleep than eating it an hour before bed,” Scharman Draughon says “It takes time for all these sleep-promoting reactions to occur in the body.” That said, everybody is a little different, so you may need to experiment to find your ideal potato-eating window. 

    And if you can stomach it, eat the potato skin, too! This provides an extra dose of fiber which promotes balanced blood sugar—and eating enough fiber every day has been associated with improved sleep. Drizzling your baked potato with a little Greek yogurt, olive oil, avocado, or almond butter—all of which provide a dose of healthy fats—helps further stabilize blood sugar and aids in the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients such as beta-carotene (which helps support healthy eyes and skin and a stronger immune system). 


    Aside from potatoes and sweet potatoes, what are some other healthy bedtime snacks? Here are five foods to eat for better sleep:


    Oats are another complex carb that may have a similar sleep-promoting effect to potatoes. They also produce enough insulin to help clear the way for tryptophan to get to the brain. Plus, they contain a healthy dose of vitamin B6 and melatonin, making them one of the best bedtime snacks. but complex carbs aren’t the only way to enhance sleep. 


    Craving something sweet before bed? Good news: Kiwi is one of the best snacks you can have before bedtime. That’s because they have an unusually high serotonin content, according to Scharman Draughon. 


    Turns out, the age-old tradition of having a glass of milk before bed holds up. According to Scharman Draughon, it’s one of the best foods for deep sleep. “Drinking milk in the evening may help you sleep, as it contains a component known as casein trypsin hydrolysate (CTH), which binds to a receptor in the brain to suppress nerve signaling and promote sleep,” she says.


    “Tart cherries, with their high concentration of both melatonin and antioxidant capacity, also enhance sleep,” says Scharman Draughon. In fact, research shows that tart cherry juice before bed improves both sleep duration and sleep quality. Looking for some cherry bedtime snack ideas? Consider making a simple tart cherry smoothie with frozen tart cherries, magnesium-rich almond butter, milk (or non-dairy milk such as almond milk or oat milk), and a bit of easy-to-digest protein like HUM’s plant-based vanilla protein powder, Core Strength. In addition to sleep-promoting micronutrients, this blend contains protein, complex carbs, and fats to promote stable blood sugar. 


    For something lighter that you can sip closer to bedtime, try chamomile tea. This cozy beverage has been shown to improve sleep quality and quell anxiety, thanks in part to an antioxidant called apigenin, which appears to promote muscle relaxation and sleepiness. For something extra dreamy,  try one of these bedtime latte recipes.


    While some individual foods may offer sleep-promoting properties when consumed closer to bedtime, your overall eating pattern throughout the day is even more important.  

    One study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that even just one day of eating low fiber, high saturated fat foods negatively influenced participants’ sleep, in part, by interfering with slow wave sleep, which is considered the most restorative sleep stage. Additionally, eating a higher percentage of calories from sugar and refined carbohydrates was associated with waking up during the night, likely due to fluctuations in blood sugar.

    Eating low-fiber, high-sugar, and high-saturated fat foods during the day can also drive your urge for less healthy late-night snacking, which can further interfere with sleep, says Scharman Draughon. At meals, aim for a balance of protein, high-fiber complex carbs (veggies, whole grains, certain fruits), and a healthy source of fat (olive oil, avocadoes, nuts, seeds, salmon).


    Potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, offer a great combination of complex carbohydrates for steady blood sugar, along with vitamins and minerals that enhance the body’s production of sleep-promoting hormones and neurotransmitters. Try incorporating them into your dinner or a small evening snack for deeper, more restful sleep. Pro tip: Half a baked sweet potato slathered with almond butter and sprinkled with cinnamon is almost like dessert. 


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  • What Is Sleep Apnea?

    Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired, even after a full night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnea.

    Woman with Sleep Apnea Snoring

    There are two types of sleep apnea:

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    The more common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when the throat muscles relax. It is an anatomical and neurological problem. During sleep, your airway collapses and blocks air from passing through. Some sleep apnea patients may gasp, snore or choke. Some are completely silent. Not all people who have sleep apnea snore. Not all people who snore have sleep apnea.

    Central Sleep Apnea

    The lesser common form of sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles during sleep. Your body essentially “forgets to breathe”.

    What are the effects?

    This roller coaster sleep pattern leads to a loss of energy, concentration, productivity and an inability to stay awake during less active tasks. This may include reading, watching television and driving. In severe cases, the continuous oxygen deprivation caused by sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and even sudden death. There may be a genetic component to this disorder as it often occurs within families.

    Can Sleep Apnea Be Resolved?

    Generally, in cases of very mild sleep apnea, symptoms have been resolved with weight loss, a reduction of alcohol intake, or a change in sleep position. Sleep experts suggest that most people with sleep apnea should not sleep on their backs, but instead on their left side.

    In more serious cases, oral appliance therapy which repositions the lower jaw and the tongue are very helpful to many patients and also those whose only problem is disruptive snoring. These devices gently keep your jaw forward during sleep to open your airway. For the vast majority of patients, the oral appliances are far more comfortable than CPAP therapy. In fact, experience shows that 83% of patients who try oral appliance therapy sleep comfortably for an average of almost 7 hours per night.

    CPAP machines offer continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) through a mask. Although this treatment helps many people, some cannot tolerate this method and may benefit from oral devices.

    Many people benefit from combination therapy; the use of an oral appliance and the CPAP machine.

    Seeking Treatment

    We recommend you seek treatment from an American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine Diplomate. Diagnosing sleep apnea currently involves a physician prescribed sleep test. These tests can be performed at home or at a sleep lab.  For more information on sleep apnea and resources, you can visit American Alliance for Healthy Sleep, 2510 North Frontage Road
    Darien, IL 60561 or National Sleep Foundation, 1367 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036