Portale Dental April 2019

portale post It’s Time to Save Your Own Life W e Americans are funny people. We know everything about everything, but we like to do what we please in spite of the knowledge. For instance, everyone knows

April 2019

smoking is bad, but many still smoke. “I’m fine; it’s too hard to quit!” We hear it all the time. But when the doctor finds a “spot,” suddenly we become the perfect patient and throw away the packs cold turkey! The same is true with teeth and gums. We know we must floss and have preventive visits with a hygienist twice a year, but we are often too busy. But when that toothache explodes and our face swells up, our schedules so easily change! The latest example of “head in the sand” behavior is this sleep apnea condition you’ve read about so much recently. The more we learn about this medical threat, the more we hide from the facts. Currently, the experts claim nearly 25 percent of the American population has measurable sleep apnea. That’s nearly 100 million of us, but people resist getting screened or tested. Even when the effects of apnea are explained, the common response is “I feel fine, I don’t need a test” or “I’ll just lose a few pounds and be okay.” Funny people we are. Apnea is a fancy word that describes a cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more while sleeping. No big deal, everyone can hold their breath for 10 seconds. This may occur up to five times an hour and still be considered “normal.” For patients with apnea, this can happen for 10 or more seconds and 50–60 times an hour. Let’s see, that’s nearly 10 minutes each hour. So, try holding your breath for 10 minutes! You can feel the effect on your body. It’s real, and it’s serious. When the oxygen flow is reduced, we see elevations in blood pressure and heart rate as the body attempts to compensate for the missing oxygen. The heart can become unstable and produce arrhythmias, which may progress into a heart attack. Normal metabolism slows down because oxygen is needed to digest food, and the body stores the excess food as fat leading to obesity. Low oxygen affects the brain causing drowsiness, fatigue,

headache, confusion, memory loss, dementia, stroke, or premature death. Other conditions include diabetes, eye disorders, glaucoma, general job impairment, motor vehicle accidents, and, yes, even impotence. Don’t you know somebody with one or more of these conditions? Getting screened takes 10 minutes. Having a home sleep test in your own bed with a simple recording device is easy. Remember, snoring is only a clue, and carrying a few extra pounds is not the cause of apnea. In fact, it may be quite the opposite. Why die a “natural death” in your sleep when you can treat apnea with a small intra-oral appliance you can carry in your pocket?

Don’t be like Justice Scalia, Carrie Fisher, Ron White, or other apnea patients who have died due to conditions directly related to sleep apnea. Stop being funny, and call for your screening. It could save your life! – Dr. Portale

Call to meet the doctor and discuss treatment options.

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