How would you know if you’re a candidate for sleep apnea, asks Dr. Avi Weisfogel. Do you snore during the night? How about unexplained drowsiness during the day? Sleep apnea has become a new silent disease, and even with leading symptoms, many people fail to seek testing. It’s more than nights of disturbed sleep, Avi Weisfogel points out. Sleep apnea could be life threatening.
There are several forms of apneas but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. The muscles of the soft palate relaxes during sleep, and as a result, the airway closes momentarily, and the sleeper can not breathe properly. This pause in breathing occurs five or more times a night for approximately ten seconds. But these pauses in breathing lead to decreased oxygen supply to the body, and the blood pressure rises. As an internal alarm response, the breathing is abruptly reactivated, but it happens so fast, the person isn’t aware. However, the body is aware of this sleep disruption and responds with fatigue the next day.
Sleep apnea increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and heart rhythm disorders , heart attack and sudden cardiac death. Dr. Avi Weisfogel points out that sleep apnea can also exacerbate pre-existing cardiac problems. Heart disease patients whose oxygen saturation in the blood drops during sleep are at high risk of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden nocturnal death.
People with obstructive sleep apnea typically are loud snorers, followed by an interruption in breathing. There are really no consequences of snoring, by itself that is, says Weisfogel. But when you add in a cessation of breathing, then it becomes hazardous. When a sleep disorder is suspected, the sleeper should be evaluated, as well as having the cardiovascular system tested.
Avi Weisfogel is founder of Dental Sleep Masters. The company was launched in 2014 to purse Weisfogel’s goals of finding helping the dental industry treat patients and find solutions to sleep apnea. A general and cosmetic dentist with a private practice in Old Bridge New Jersey, Weisfogel refocused his practice to begin consulting in the sleep disorder industry.
Weisfogel is also an advocate for the under-priviledged, with a primary focus on children with cleft lip and palates. He started an online GoFundMe fundraiser for Operation Smile, pledging all funds to go towards the organization’s outreach initiatives.