Phone numberstop Snoring Ohio

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is snoring with quiet pauses in breathing ending in gasping, snoring or choking sounds. Have you or your spouse awakened suddenly in a panic, not being able to breathe? If this continues, the diagnosis may very well be obstructive sleep apnea.  Apnea or literally want of breath,” is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition.  This disorder was discovered as recently as 1965; it's characterized by brief interruptions of breathing while sleeping for more than 10 seconds.

A person with sleep apnea may have breathing pauses or apneas that may last from 10 to 60 seconds or longer. Some people experience 20, 30 or more apneic events per hour! During these events, the airway becomes blocked, thus blocking the entrance of air into the lungs. Here's a list of the common characteristics of sleep apneic patients:

1. 93% snore loudly

81% have gained weight 10 pounds or greater in the past 5 years

3. 80% of these patients suffer from excessive EDS – excessive daytime sleepiness (fatigue)
4. 79% of the time, the bed partner witnesses apneic events, the most common being chocking and gasping
5. 73% of those with sleep apnea report unrefreshed sleep
6. Believe it or not, 71% of those with sleep apnea have difficulty falling asleep and/or maintaining sleep
Medical Consequences of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What if you sleep alone? Who cares how much you snore or how many apneic events you have every hour you're sleep?

Obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to or cause several very serious medical problems. The more serious are listed below:
1. Hypertension

Cardiac arrhythmias

3. Heart attack
4. Stroke
5. Atherosclerosis
6. Increased cholesterol levels
7. Sudden death

As if these serious medical complications aren't enough, several other problems arising from severe snoring and sleep apnea are listed below:
1. 23% of adults fell asleep while driving last year

Snorers have a 3 times greater chance of being involved in a motor vehicle accident

3. Poor job performance
4. Depression
5. Marital difficulties
6. Sexual difficulties
7. Reduced quality of life
8. PTSD suffers have recurrent nightmares and high incidence of obstructive sleep apnea

How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Even though Dr. Shankland has had extensive training in the study of physiology of sleep and of sleep medicine, a physician must make the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, just to name one of several disorders.

The first step in detecting sleep disorders is to review your history. If you answer Yes to any of these next questions, it's a good chance that you are suffering from a sleep disorder:

Do you snore?


For men, is your neck size 17 inches or greater and 15 ½ inches for women?

3. Has your spouse of sleeping partner witnessed you experiencing apneas (chocking or gasping for breath)?
4. Have you developed high blood pressure?

Are you over-weight?

6. Do you wake each morning and feel refreshed?

Do you fall asleep at inappropriate times (that is, during meetings, while driving, while trying to carry on a conversation)?


After Dr. Shankland talks with a patient concerning these questions, if he feels there's a good chance the patient may be suffering with one or several sleeping disorders, he refers the patient to a sleep lab and obtains consultation with a physician who specializes in sleep medicine.


Generally, a patient spends the night in a sleep lab and his or her sleep is monitored by highly trained sleep technicians. While sleeping, the several physiological functions are monitored and recorded (for example, oxygen saturation of the blood, apneic events per hours, restlessness, heart rate) and printed on graph paper so that the sleep doctor can read the results the next day. This special test, termed a polysomnogram , is very helpful for both the sleep doctor and Dr. Shankland in planning effective that could change your life.

Dr. Shankland may recommend a second sleep study after he begins providing treatment with an oral appliance. This second polysomnogram is obtained in order to make certain that you are achieving the most effective therapy.  He often recommends a home sleep study, too, to check the progress of his recommended therapy.

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There are several types of treatment of sleeping disorders. Dr. Shankland, working in conjunction with the sleep medicine physician, often recommends more than one type of therapy. Briefly, types of treatment are as follows:

A change in ones diet. For example, reducing caffeine and eating a well-balanced meal may help significantly to reduce sleep disorders
Improvement in sleep hygiene (proper methods to prepare for sleep)
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This is the use of a small and quiet machine. The patient wears a small mask and this machine lightly forces air through a tube, through the mask and opens the airway so that normal sleep occurs and most importantly, sleep apnea is dramatically decreased or eliminated, which means that all those possible severe medical problems can be reduced as well. CPAP therapy has helped countless patients and is considered the gold standard of therapy for sleep apnea today.
Surgery. There are several types of surgery which may be recommended for obstructive sleep apnea. Unfortunately, these procedures are very painful and not generally successful long-term
Dental Appliances. These are intra-oral appliances used to gradually bring the lower jaw forward, along with the tongue, to maintain an open airway during sleep. These have proved to be very effective and are a really good option for those patients who either can't use or won't use the CPAP machine. Dr. Shankland, with his nearly 3 decades of treating temporomandibular joint problems, has naturally added this type of therapy into his practice. Using oral appliances is simple, very safe, non-invasive, and to date, has the highest percentage of success in treating sleep disorders.
Consultation with Dr. Shankland

If you or a loved-one is interested in a consultation with Dr. Shankland concerning sleeping disorders, simply call the TMJ & Facial Pain Center at 614-794-0033 and request an appointment. A history form will be mailed to you and if you're traveling for more than 3 hours by car, or flying to see Dr. Shankland (as so many of his patients do), ask for hotel and travel accommodations.