Dr. Giacalone once again returned to Chicago to spend three intense days studying sleep medicine. Dr. G. has earned the designation of “Qualified Dentist” by the Academy. She continues her studies to better serve her patients. “As dentists we have the opportunity to examine the mouth, facial features and the upper airway on a regular basis. It is important that we screen for signs of sleep apnea since this disorder has so many serious health consequences including, sudden death, heart disease, hypertension, Type II Diabetes, early Alzheimer’s to name a few.”
The most fascinating topic covered in the session was the history of gender bias in sleep medicine. EARLY SLEEP APNEA STUDIES EXCLUDED FEMALE SUBJECTS! Thanks to Dr. Terry Young who in 1993 initiated a very well-respected study, The Wisconsin Cohort, which included both men and women, we now understand that women do not present in the same way as men.
40% of women diagnosed with severe sleep apnea did not report any classic obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. Women most often presented with fatigue, morning headaches and insomnia. Most alarming is that women with sleep apnea were often misdiagnosed with depression, anxiety, or other illnesses.
Dr. Giacalone refers to Board Certified Sleep Specialist Physicians who diagnose the Sleep Disordered Breathing. Dr. G. then works with the physicians in treatment of diagnosed patients. Some patients are well served with a PAP device( Mask or nasal pillows that force air into the patient’s airway) while others are better served with an oral device, more like a sports guard, which moves the tongue and jaw forward opening the airway. For very severe sleep apnea patients where a C-PAP must deliver very high pressures of air into the patient, Dr. G. can make a combination device. The oral device stabilizes the airway so the specialized PAP can deliver much reduced, more comfortable pressures.
Please feel free to ask Dr. G. about this important subject. 610-558-1760