TMJ & Sleep Therapy Office of London, Ontario with Dr. David Rawson
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 Sleep Apnea

What Kind Of Disorders Do You Think Are Related To
Sleep Apnea and TMJ?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Sleep apnea, known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is more common in the U.S. than asthma or diabetes. Generally, the disorder strikes men more often than women and it progressively worsens with age and increased weight. Basically, during sleep, relaxed muscle activity leads to a closing of the throat and airway, which forces sufferers to take in a deep breath of air and awakens them. This cycle repeats throughout the night, preventing the individual from getting a restful, deep sleep.

Clinical signs and symptoms of OSA include:

  • Intermittent snoring with pauses
  • Awakenings with gasping or choking
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Fragmented, non-refreshing, light sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Poor memory and/or clouded intellect
  • Irritability
  • Morning headaches
  • Decreased sex drive or impotence

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Leading risk factors for OSA are obesity, increasing age, male gender, anatomic abnormalities of the upper airway, a family history of sleep apnea, alcohol or sedative use, smoking and hypertension.

Learn about Diagnosis and
Treatment of Sleep Apnea

This man is having a sleep test done in a medical facility where his snoring and lack of breathing (apnea) are being carefully measured to determine the severity of his condition. If a person does not breathe for at least 10 seconds, this is called an apneic episode. Notice how this person's brain organizes the stomach muscles as if to do CPR on himself to force air into his lungs. So how well did he digest that big Steak Dinner last night ? This patient's eyes are closed and he is quite likely unaware of the drama being orchestrated by his brain to keep him alive. Both of these events last approximately 35 to 40 seconds which means that this person could be starving himself of oxygen for at least 20 minutes per hour, if this is a regular ongoing event. Typically patients with this severe a condition would be prescribed a CPAP breathing machine, which works well if it is worn every night. Many patients however find them uncomfortable and annoying and their use drops off quite drastically after 6 to 12 months. For non compliant patients they are actually dying very slowly every night by starving their bodies of much needed oxygen, the fuel for our cells.

Sleep Apnea
This video demonstrates how easily the tongue and back of the throat can slowly restrict the airway to the point where no air can pass at all. After many seconds the brain sends an electrical shock to the muscles to jerk him awake causing that, "snort" or "gasp" which most people mistake for snoring. The patient's eyes are closed so he may not be aware of this event at all or in fact how many times it may happen during a full night's sleep. He could have done this 300 or 400 times resulting in fragmented and poor quality of sleep.

Pediatric Sleep Disorders

Pediatric Sleep Disorders

Negative Effects for Children with Sleep Disorders

This child, approx. 6 years old, is struggling to get a breath while lying on his back. Notice how his lower lip gets sucked in and his rib cage expands as he tries to create negative pressure to suck in air. His tongue and throat are sticking together causing apnea and it takes many repeated cycles of this activity to result in him finally breaking the "log jam" of is muscles to allow air to rush in. Children need a lot more sleep than adults and if this event happens even once in an hour, it is a significant threat to the growth and development of this child.
Child OSA