Did OSA Strike Again?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) seems to have claimed another life. Thomas Kinkade, a famous American painter, was found dead in his home on April 6th. According to family and initial reports, it appears the he died of natural causes in his sleep. Given the body type and build of Kinkade along with the absense of any other sickness, it is very likely that OSA was the culprit.

Many people are not aware of the deadliness of this diesase and do not know the signs to look for. I encourage each of you to take a look at some typical diagnostic questions associated with sleep apnea and be on the look out for your family and friends that may be at risk!

  1. Do you snore?     Y/N
  2. Are you excessively sleepy during the day?     Y/N
  3. Have you been told you stop breathing when you sleep?     Y/N
  4. Do you have a history of hyptertension?     Y/N
  5. Is your neck size greater than 17 inches (if male) or 16 inches (if female)?     Y/N

If someone answers "Yes" to two or more of these questions, they may be a risk of having OSA and should consult with their physician, dentist or sleep center about getting a sleep study.

Sleep III in Reno

Sharon and I are in Reno attending the third of 3 meetings about dental sleep medicine. As I have said in earlier blogs, I have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This Is a fast growing area of medicine and dentistry and this disease - OSA, is a deadly disease and is responsible for early deaths from heart disease, diabetes, among others. Needless to say, I am very passionate about this disease, and screen all of our dental patients for this deadly disease.

Sharon and I met two of our best friends, Steve and Joy Cobb, in Reno for this dental meeting. We met Steve and Joy 33 years ago in the Air Force. Steve and I were both dentists in the Air Force, right out of dental school. We have stayed close for 33 years and try to get together every year.  Steve is a dentist in the Dallas area and is also very interested in dental sleep medicine. 

This sleep meeting covers three days and is the culmination of a 9 day mini-residency in dental sleep medicine.  At this meeting, we are hearing from physicians;  (ENT's, heart doctors, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, MD sleep specialists, eye doctors, and CPAP technicians) about how OSA is treated from their prospective.  As I said, this is the fastest growing area of medicine and we are all learning how to treat this deadly disease.

Sleep Study Results

The results are in! After my sleep study, Dr. Harrykissoon determined that many of my symptoms were reduced, but OSA was still affecting my overall sleep quality. I no longer have snoring during the night and my breathing interruptions are lower than before. The oral Somnodent appliance seems to have greatly reduced these problems, but not all of them.

My study showed that I was having around 40 leg interruptions an hour that did not awaken me, but took my body from REM sleep to non-REM sleep. Your body uses the REM sleep cycle to rejuvinate itself and store information for long term memory retention.  When the body is deprived of REM due to sleep disorders, your heart and respiration rates will speed up and can cause more fatal effects to the body.  It is important to get an official sleep study in a lab because this is one of many symptoms that would not be seen on an ordinary home sleep study.

Since my leg interruptions were taking me out of REM sleep, Dr. Harrykissoon suggested that I do a follow up and look at my options for alternate sleep appliances.  A CPAP is a great option to help increase that amount of air flow that your body receives during sleep. At my follow up, I plan on looking into the different CPAP options.

Sleep Apnea kills State Congressman

State Rep. Robert C. Donatucci, 58, 


died asleep in his bed in South Philadelphia early Tuesday.  His death was related to sleep apnea, for which he was being treated, said his brother Ronald, the city register of wills.

He had been at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital about a week earlier for a sleep study, his brother said.  He found the mask uncomfortable and did not complete the test, but had resolved to lose a few pounds.  He had no history of heart problems. Fire and Rescue were called to the house when his wife discovered he was not breathing.

The precise cause of Rep. Donatucci's death was not immediately known. His brother said a doctor had told him the death was related to sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is getting more and more attention every day, as we hear about people "dying in their sleep" .

Sleep apnea is treated very effectively with CPAP masks. 

While the CPAP mask is very effective in treating sleep apnea, many people like Donatucci find it "uncomfortable" and do not wear it.  This is were dentistry has some help.  There are many different oral appliances that can help treat this deadly disease.  I, myself, wear one religiously every night.  I do not want to wake up dead!! 

If you or someone you know snores or has any other sleepy symptoms, be sure and have them tested and treated for this deadly disease!!!