Matthew J. McCullough D.M.D. is one of a few dentists across the nation currently treating patients for sleep apnea. In addition, Dr. McCullough is doing his part to spread awareness within his own community regarding the many health risks, side effects, and treatment options available.
As part of his awareness efforts, Dr. McCullough will be holding a sleep apnea discussion on Tuesday September 6, at the Bond County Senior Center, located at 1001 E. Harris Ave, Greenville, IL. The event will take place at 10:45 am. and is open to the public. “I am trying to reach all age groups because sleep apnea affects anyone and everyone,” McCullough said.
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA), which takes place in the brain. The most common form is OSA and is caused by an obstructed airway which forces a person to stop breathing for short periods of time during the night, leaving the person oxygen and sleep deprived. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that OSA increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, type-2 diabetes, obesity, brain damage and depression.
Symptoms of OSA can range from snoring to feeling fatigued, even after sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep apnea is defined as “a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.” OSA sufferers experience repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, causing multiple awakenings. Many do not realize that this lowers the oxygen in the blood resulting in serious health ramifications such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, and even sudden death.
In addition to spreading awareness, Dr. McCullough is currently offering free consultations to those who are at risk of having OSA. “It is important for those who are experiencing symptoms or feel that they might be at risk to be tested and treated as soon as possible,” Dr. McCullough said. In addition, sleep awakenings cause acute surges in blood pressure and heart rate, further increasing stress on the heart.
“My goal is to spread as much awareness throughout my community as possible through lectures, demonstrations and awareness events,” Dr. McCullough said. “It is important that the public knows about sleep apnea and the alternative treatment options available.”
Dr. McCullough can offer patients an oral appliance, which is a custom designed mouth piece similar to a retainer. The mouth piece works in one of two ways — either by repositioning the jaw and pushing the tongue forward or by restraining the tongue to keep the airway open. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is a practical and proven first line treatment option for OSA. OAT is validated by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for patients suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea or for those who are intolerant to the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask treatment. Medicare and medical insurance cover treatment with an oral appliance to treat obstructive Sleep Apnea.
For more information on the event call the Bond County Senior Center at 664-1465.