Hello Everybody! I am so glad you are here with me today. I am the Proactive Caregiver and I specialize in educating others on how to be proactive by empowering the caregiver. If you cannot take care of yourself, then you cannot take care of your loved one.
So what happens when you end up with a pillow over your head because your loved one is snoring loudly? Although it may seem like they are getting the best sleep of their lives, no matter how much they resemble a hibernating wildlife animal, it means neither of you is getting good sleep.
I bet neither of you would have considered asking your dentist about sleep apnea? I didn't either which is why I asked Dr. Joy Poskozim from Joyful Dental Care in Chicago to join me in shedding some light on what else is going on in our mouths at night. She reminded me that we can survive 3 weeks without eating. We can survive 3 days without water. Yet can e can only survive roughly 3 minutes without oxygen.
My husband and I have gone through the bedroom drama of snoring which created quite a bit of tension. From sleeping at the foot of the bed with a pillow over my head to switching rooms in the middle of the night I finally urged him to look into this issue. What seems like a seasonal sinus issue for some, which is common, can become a more serious issue. The lack of oxygen to the brain is obviously serious because it has the potential to kill brain cells, long before any amyloid protein builds up creating a risk for Dementia-related degeneration.
Not convinced? Well did you know there are three different types of sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea - the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax. The soft tissue of the nose and throat relax when we fall asleep creating choking hazards when this soft tissue blocks the airways.
Central sleep apnea - which occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome - also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Some of the causes for sleep apnea would not necessarily lead you to believe a dentist, like Joy would be able to screen for it but think again. These causes include excess weight, neck circumference (people with thicker necks have narrower airways), being male, being older, family history, use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers, and smoking.
Alzheimer's is still not very well understood in terms of definitive causes but I find it interesting that sleep apnea is a potential indicator because of the potential for heart problems and death of brain cells. It must be taken seriously because Early Onset Alzheimer's is on the rise for the mid ages 45 to 55. Dentists are taking this just as seriously and are able to provide screening tests to help begin the process for you. They may not be able to diagnosis it since it is a medical condition but they can identify it to help point you in the right direction towards an otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, & Throat), or pulmonologist (lung specialist), or neurologist (brain and nerves) and definitely towards your primary care physician.
You may still be asking why would I see a dentist for this medical issue? Well, many of us do not maintain annual good check visits even when we do have adequate insurance coverage. Life can get full of demands with busy schedules, work, and family responsibilities. We overlook these simple preventative and proactive opportunities when we do not have to. On the contrary, many of us see a dentist at least twice a year for routine check-ups which makes this proactive approach convenient. Dentistry is all about prevention.
Regardless of the form of dementia that may or may not be in your family history; Regardless of sleeping habits for you or your loved ones; The more time you allow for preventative measures, then the more time you allow for treatment and correction. Detection is key. It could save your heart, brain, and your marriage when you go in to say "awe." Single? Sleeping alone with no one to jab you in the side, telling you to roll over? Same response - make your appointment with your dentist to go in and say "awe." You have a heart and brain worth saving too.
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I hope this gave you more food for thought. Until next time, BE PROACTIVE. Take care, everybody.
Intro: Vacation Time by Khris Paradise
Outro: Misty by Khris Paradise
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