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When it comes to good health, we’re reminded over and over again to eat right, exercise and don’t smoke. But an increasing amount of scientific evidence indicates that adequate sleep should be added to that list in order to help ensure optimal health.
The American Sleep Association estimates that about 12 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops for short periods multiple times during the night. Sleep apnea doesn’t only cause excessive daytime sleepiness, its most noticeable effect; it also increases risk for heart attack and stroke, making it a serious medical condition for the millions who don’t know they have it.
Women tend to be health-aware. Between annual mammograms and gynecological care, most women have a primary-care physician and recognize the importance of regular health screenings. Now it’s men’s turn.
Located at Mercy St. Louis in Creve Coeur, Oral Facial Surgery Institute & Implant Center is a private practice offering a full scope of treatments and services, ranging from simple ailments to more complicated cases, says Dr. Michael Noble. The facility is a Level 1 Trauma Center, providing all of the facial trauma services for Mercy St. Louis. “We handle patients with facial lacerations or any trauma, including broken facial bones,” says Noble, who is a founding member and serves as director of Oral Facial Surgery Institute, as well as director of its accredited maxillo facial fellowship program, which takes one person from the U.S. each year and provides them with additional training in the specialty.
Has your heart ever skipped a beat—and not because you’re in love? Irregular heartbeats, known clinically as ‘arrhythmias,’ are not uncommon.
Wet sheets, wet pajamas, an embarrassed child and frustrated parents: This scene is familiar to many of us. Bed-wetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis, often is a normal part of a child’s development. Most children are fully toilet-trained and dry at night by the age of 4, but 15 percent of 5-year-olds entering kindergarten still wet the bed. Twice as many boys as girls wet the bed at night after the age of 6; and by the age of 8, fewer than 5 percent of children wet the bed.
Have you been getting enough sleep? If not, the week of March 5 is a good time to catch up. It’s National Sleep Awareness Week, which highlights the importance of adequate sleep for improved wellness and a higher quality of life. The week ends with the annual shift to Daylight Saving Time, robbing us of an hour of night-time.
You wake up exhausted and struggle to stay awake throughout the day. Your loud snoring often keeps your spouse up all night, and sometimes you wake up gasping for air. These symptoms are often indicative of sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening disorder that affects more than 18 million Americans. “Some studies say that it affects 20 percent of the population, but less than 1 percent has been diagnosed,” says Dr. Kevin Postol. “Without treatment, you have seven years taken off your life and higher risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes.”
Having the occasional restless night and feeling the effects the following day is par for the course. However, it’s not normal or healthy to feel sleepy all the time. In many cases, the phenomenon of excessive daytime sleepiness is related to a common sleep disorder that sufferers may not even be aware of.
Jan Mueller regularly talks with parents about life with a new baby. And when that baby has Down syndrome, questions abound. Dr. Mueller, a pediatrician with Mercy Children’s Hospital, is medically qualified to answer them. And Mueller also is personally qualified to answer them—her 12-year-old daughter has Down syndrome.
You’ll notice it in any group picture: There’s always that one person who doesn’t smile, or only gives a half smile without showing their teeth. “It’s because they’re trying to hide how their teeth look,” says Dr. Michael Barbick of the Oral Facial Surgery Institute and Implant Center at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. One of the most rewarding things about oral and facial surgery is to see how people’s lives are changed when they regain a beautiful smile, he explains. “It’s night and day the way the patient reacts and responds to us differently when we work with a general dentist to give them back that beautiful smile. They’re proud of their teeth and they have the ability to chew better. It gives them more confidence to go about their life.”
Finally, at the end of a busy day, it’s time for bed. We settle in, just drifting off to sleep—then comes the cocophany: your spouse’s snooring!
Gail brought her 10-month-old son, John, to see me because he wasn’t sleeping through the night yet. The mom had had three previous miscarriages and a history of infertility that necessitated in vitro fertilization three times. And John, who appeared fine after a long delivery, had a seizure on the day of his discharge, requiring a week of observation and tests. He went home without meds and stayed seizure free.
If you’re like most parents, you know that when your child doesn’t sleep, neither do you. Understanding why our kids have sleep problems and acting on them can help you (and the rest of the family) get the sleep you need.
When a severely obese person is told to lose weight, the prospect can be overwhelming. Changing diet alone results in slow weight loss. Exercise, which is more effective, is hard and painful. “More than anything, obese patients don’t feel good. Their joints hurt; they have sleep apnea, heartburn, and mobility limitations,” says Dr. Norbert Richardson, director of the bariatric surgery program at St. Alexis Hospital. St. Alexis does 600 bariatric surgeries a year, and Richardson reports that the benefits to patients are almost immediate.
Keeping the pounds off is challenging enough for many women, and for some, the excess weight can be downright dangerous. And if you’ve ever been involved in any kind of diet or workout plan, you know that the paths to weight loss are practically as numerous as the women seeking them. But one thing’s been proven: The most effective approaches involve lifestyle changes, along with professional guidance to reach and stay on goal.
Eyelashes After Chemo
If your bed partner snores, it may be more than a mere annoyance. One of the most common causes of snoring, especially when punctuated by short periods of silence followed by loud snorts or coughs, is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder in which the airway is obstructed during sleep. Not only does OSA prevent a good night’s sleep due to repeated breathing disruptions, it is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and diabetes.
Mani-pedi, facial, Pilates class…dental appointment? We don’t usually think of a visit to the dentist as a beauty or grooming ritual. “But nothing enhances your looks and boosts your confidence more than a beautiful smile, and nothing takes years off your face like relief from chronic tooth, mouth or jaw pain,” says Dr. Ruth Gomes of VivaSmiles Advanced Dentistry in Clayton. “People can spend hours in the gym and plenty of money on cosmetics, but a less-than-perfect smile can throw off the whole look.”
There are few things more frustrating than lying in bed at night, waiting for sleep. And waiting. And waiting. Thousands of Americans experience episodes of insomnia. For some, the problem comes and goes periodically. Others rarely experience a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep.
You may eat right, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and wear sunscreen every day. But if you‘re not getting enough rest, you‘re not doing everything you can to ensure good health. And national Sleep Awareness Week, March 3 through 9, is the perfect time to give yourself a sleep check-up.