Welcome to the Virginia Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine website. This site is intended to serve as an added resource for you as you become educated about sleep-related breathing disorders. An estimated 50 to 70 million people in this country have some form of sleep-related disorder. Roughly 10% have been diagnosed and only about 3% are being treated.
Sleep-related breathing disorders include snoring and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is an actual cessation of breathing for ten seconds and longer and is associated with a multitude of medical infirmities as well as impairing your ability to carry out daytime functions due to chronic fatigue.
Some of the medical implications associated with sleep-related disorders include:
- cardiovascular disease – heart attacks
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an abnormal function of the heart or blood vessels. It can cause an increase in risk for heart attack, heart failure, sudden death, stroke and cardiac rhythm problems, thus resulting in decreased quality of life and decreased life expectancy. Learn more at the American Heart Association
- cerebro-vascular disease – strokes
- A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain. A stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack.” Symptoms: The symptoms of stroke depend on what part of the brain is damaged. Learn more at the American Stroke Association
- diabetes type 2
- Type 2 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Learn more at www.diabetes.org
- gastroesophageal reflux
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. Learn more at the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders site.
- morning headaches
- Teeth grinding and clenching can be a sign of Bruxism, which can lead to morning headaches and can be a sign of a sleep disorder. Read more at Science Daily
- chronic daytime tiredness
- This is best characterized by persistent sleepiness, and often a general lack of energy, even after apparently adequate night time sleep.
- Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which people experience long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
- pulmonary hypertention
- Pulmonary hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. It makes the right side of the heart need to work harder than normal. Learn more at the Mayo Clinic site
Please use this site to learn more about adult and pediatric sleep disorders and the impact that these conditions have on adults and children. You can also find a dentist or sleep physician in your location by clicking on the VADSM member directory. It is our goal to help you and members of your family to enjoy restful sleep and productive days.
Dental sleep specialists may treat sleep-related breathing disorders, but may not provide diagnosis. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder, the VADSM encourages you to talk with your physician.