Hidden Health Risks: Sleep Apnea and Cancer

Two recent studies have found an association, but not a causal relationship, between sleep apnea and cancer.  This study adds yet another health risk linked to sleep apnea, along with heart disease, diabetes, depression and gastro-esophageal reflux disease.

According to an article printed in the New York Times:

“In one of the new studies, researchers in Spain followed thousands of patients at sleep clinics and found that those with the most severe forms of sleep apnea had a 65 percent greater risk of developing cancer of any kind. The second study, of about 1,500 government workers in Wisconsin, showed that those with the most breathing abnormalities at night had five times the rate of dying from cancer as people without the sleep disorder. Both research teams only looked at cancer diagnoses and outcomes in general, without focusing on any specific type of cancer.”


Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder which affects an estimated 12-28 million Americans but often goes undiagnosed and untreated, increasing the risk of related health issues.  Those suffering from sleep apnea stop breathing during sleep for intervals of ten seconds or more, resulting in disturbances of the sleep cycle as well as oxygen deprivation to the brain.

It is this decrease in oxygen level that is thought to be a main factor in the link between sleep apnea and cancer.  The Spanish study, noted above, measured the relationship between oxygen deprivation and cancer, and found that the greater the oxygen deprivation during the night, the greater the instances of cancer during the period of the study.  Science News reports that those with the greatest levels of oxygen deprivation were “nearly nine times as likely to have died of cancer during the ensuing study years than were those with normal-oxygen blood.”

The fact that this widespread disorder goes undiagnosed and untreated so often is alarming.  Serious health risks that could be prevented and addressed if sleep apnea were diagnosed and treated are the result.  These latest studies linking sleep apnea and increased cancer risk adds to the urgency of education and awareness about sleep apnea.  As quoted in the New York Times, Dr. F. Javier Nieto, one of the authors of the U.S.-based study says, “I would say that this is one more instance that shows that sleep apnea can have profound impacts for people’s health,” he added. “Not breathing while you’re sleeping is a serious problem.”


New York Times Article

Science News Article


May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month

So, this month, ALL of our patients will have their blood pressures measured and evaluated.  We’ll also check your blood oxygen levels and pulse rates.  Not only can High Blood Pressure (HBP) have devastating affects on your health, but it is frequently associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), especially if your HBP is resistant to standard treatment.

OSA is a sleep disorder involving your airway which can result in a series of medical issues over time.  OSA often exists unknown, undetected and undiagnosed to the patient, increasing the risks of further medical complications.  We screen every patient for OSA and treat it in conjunction with sleep doctors using custom dental sleep appliances.

Want to make an appointment?  Call us at 908-359-6655.

To learn more about High Blood Pressure and its associated health risks and treatments visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Health Information Center’s Website.

Hidden Health Risks: Sleep Apnea and Silent Stroke


Strokes affect 795,000 Americans annually, according to the American Stroke Association. The estimated 12 million Americans with the sleep disorder Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are at an increased risk for strokes to occur. Now a new study also links OSA to “silent strokes” which cause tissue death in the brain without any symptoms. So, OSA has itself been linked to an increase in strokes.

Health Day reports that Dr. Jessica Kepplinger, a fellow at the University of Technology in Dresden, Germany, ran a study which evaluated 56 patients who had an acute stroke and found that 91% of them had a form of Sleep Apnea. Using brain imaging software, they also found that the more severe the Sleep Apnea, the more likely it was for the patients to suffer silent strokes.


Sleep apnea is an airway condition. People with sleep apnea literally stop breathing for intervals of 10 seconds or more during their sleep. This can occur dozens of times each night and results in many related health risks due to disturbances in the sleep cycle as well as oxygen deprivation in the brain.

The American Sleep Association notes that 4% of the adult population is diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, but about 80% of the people with OSA are left undiagnosed. When left undiagnosed and untreated, those with OSA are often unaware of the multitude of additional health risks and factors such as stroke and silent stroke.


Detection, diagnosis and treatment of Sleep Apnea can help improve overall health and wellness. By making those suffering from Sleep Apnea aware of other health risks patients are better able to address and manage them.

Who better to detect an airway issue than a dentist who is already examining your mouth? Dr. Nadler screens every patient for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If any risk of sleep apnea is evident, patients are referred for a sleep test and informed about treatment options, including a custom dental device that repositions the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open.

If you have questions about our Sleep Apnea screenings or treatment with dental appliances, please call our office at 908-359-6655.


More about symptoms and treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea at Designs For Dental Health

American Sleep Association website about sleep apnea

Full article about the study linking sleep apnea and silent stroke

NOTE: Originally posted April 5th, 2012

Learn More About…Sleep Apnea in Women

Sleep Apnea: Hidden Illness for Women Can Lead to Real Dangers

Attached is a link to an ABC News article about sleep apnea in women. In the article, there is a good example of how driving can be quite dangerous for people with undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea. And, the misconception that only big, snoring men have this condition is highlighted. We screen all of our patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea with a questionnaire and a simple evaluation of any potential airway blockages If you have any questions about Sleep Apnea, please feel free to call us at 908.359.6655 or send a question via our website @ www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com.

READ the ABC News article-Sleep Apnea: Hidden Illness for Women Can Lead to Real Dangers

NOTE: Originally posted February 9th, 2012

Shaq Attacks Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Celebrities Snore Too!

Do you snore? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Celebrities and sports stars snore too! And, the more you snore, the greater the chance that you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is a condition that occurs when the soft palate relaxes too much and blocks your airway during sleep.

In this video, produced by the Harvard Medical School, Shaquille O’Neale is the patient. Members of the Sleep Medicine team talk about OSA — explaining its signs, symptoms and complications as well as steps that can be taken to address and treat the problem. Watch the video to learn more.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment at Designs for Dental Health

All patients at Designs for Dental Health are screened for Obstructive Sleep Apnea during their regular examination and cleaning appointments. Patients who are at risk are referred to their family doctor or a local sleep center for evaluation. The only true way to know if you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep test. If appropriate, Dr. Nadler can provide a dental appliance which repositions the lower jaw to help open the airway during sleep. Comfortable and easy to use, this snoring appliance allows patients to sleep all night and wake up feeling more refreshed. If you have more questions about OSA or want to schedule an appointment for a sleep apnea screening, please call us at 908-359-6655 or visit us at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com.

NOTE: Originally posted February 6th, 2012

Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disorders

Sleep Apnea and Your Health

Do You Sleep as Well as You’d Like?

Sleep Apnea and Sleep DeprivationRoughly 20% plus of our patients do not! The reasons for this lack of quality sleep range the gamut from emotional to physical, and the variety of sleep disorders is as long as it is fascinating. No matter the cause or the disorder, whether sleep apnea, insomnia or a range of other sleep disorders, people need a regular and appropriate amount of restful sleep to stay healthy. Those who do not sleep well will eventually exhibit symptoms of sleep deprivation and directly associated health issues.

What Are The Health Risks?

  • Heart disease and strokes
  • High Blood Pressure especially when difficult to control
  • Adult Onset Diabetes
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Memory loss and impaired concentration
  • Obesity
  • GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Daytime Sleepiness

Questions to Ask Yourself

Do you have any of the conditions listed above?

Do you feel like you need more sleep when it’s time to get up in the morning?
Do you feel very sleepy during the day?
Have you been told that you snore?
Do you ever wake up at night choking or gasping?

Many of our patients who answered “yes” to more than one of these questions and were appropriately screened for sleep issues have had these issues resolved — they are living healthier lives and feeling great!

How Can We Help? Sleep Apnea and Dental Screenings

Sleep Apnea and Sleep Deprivation
Dentists have the perfect opportunity to help every time you visit them. The major sleep issue to which we have been alluding is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is an AIRWAY issue, and every time you open your mouth in the dental chair, your dentist is looking down your airway! Dentists trained in Dental Sleep Medicine can easily screen you for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and guide you if additional steps are needed and where to get them.

Our entire team not only has the necessary training, but the belief that it is our responsibility to help our patients be as healthy and comfortable as they can be. So, all patients who come for an examination receive an OSA screening! The screening includes a comprehensive questionnaire, evaluation of the airway and a consultation about our findings. And, we’ll even extend this offer to your friends, family and coworkers.

We are excited about all that we have been learning about Obstructive Sleep Apnea and, for the first time in our history, the potential to actually save lives.

Simply call our office @ (908) 359-6655 or visit our website @ www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com to make a cleaning and examination appointment that includes your screening. As always, feel free to call or email us with any questions you may have about OSA or dentistry.

Dr. Nadler Speaks on Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Options for Sleep Apnea Treatment Presented at Sleep for Life Event

Dr. Nadler at Sleep for Life event

Dr. Nadler spoke to participants about sleep apnea treatment with dental appliances.

Dr. Nadler was recently invited to give a lecture on Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) for the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) at the Somerset Medical Center. He was invited to speak by the medical team at Sleep For Life in Hillsborough, who organized the event in celebration of Sleep Technician Appreciation Week. All speakers presented options for sleep apnea treatment.

Over fifty people were in attendance at the event, including members the Somerset Snoozers Sleep Support Group, Sleep for Life sleep technicians, medical and office staff, Somerset Medical Center staff and invited doctors.

Dr. Nadler described the SomnoDent and Herbst dental appliances, used at Designs for Dental Health for sleep apnea treatment. He spoke about who could benefit from Oral Appliance Therapy and what features are important in choosing a dental appliance. After the presentations, event participants were able to view models of the appliances and ask Dr. Nadler questions about how they function and their use for OSA treatment.

Dr. Nadler educates participants about sleep apnea treatment options using dental appliances.

Dr. Nadler educates participants about sleep apnea treatment options using dental appliances.

Other presentations included a lecture on surgical solutions for Obstructive Sleep Apnea by Drs. Adrianna Hekiert and Amy Lazar of ENT & Allergy Associates as well as an overview of sleep disorders by Dr. Namita Joshi, Medical Director at Sleep for Life.

Dr. Nadler and the team at Designs for Dental Health give a special thank you to David Orloff, Robert MacAffrey and AnnaMarie Bordonaro from Sleep for Life for their invitation to participate in the event, the staff at Sleep for Life for their warm welcome and our dental appliance reps from Christina LaJoie at Great Lakes Orthodontics (Herbst appliance) and Courtney Snow at SomnoMed (SomnoDent appliance) for their contribution of materials for the event.

Read more about symptoms and treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea at Designs for Dental Health

See more photos from the event! (NOTE: You must sign in and “like” us on Facebook first!)

Have questions for Dr. Nadler about sleep apnea treatment with dental applicances? Submit it on the form to the left of this article and Dr. Nadler will be in touch by e-mail within 24 hours!

NOTE: Originally posted October 7th, 2011

SOMNODENT Dental Sleep Apnea Appliance: A Patient’s Experience

Sleep Apnea Appliance: What our Patient Thinks

Sleep apnea treatment using dental appliances repositions the tongue and jaw down and forward to keep the airway open during sleep. SomnoDent is a dental appliance we use at Designs for Dental Health for sleep apnea treatment. The SomnoDent company claims that you won’t find a more comfortable sleep appliance.Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with one of our patients who made the switch to a SomnoDent dental appliance from another brand about her experience in making the switch and she confirmed this, stating that there was no comparison between her new Somnodent and her old dental appliance. Our patient stated that she LOVES her new appliance and is happy with all aspects of the product, from the comfort to the quality to the color.

In all, our patient is very satisfied with her Somnodent appliance and that makes us happy! Want to learn more about sleep apnea treatment using dental appliances? Give us us a call at 908-359-6655 to set up a consultation with Dr. Nadler.

Sleep Apnea Treatment with Dental Appliances

Dr. Nadler offers relief from sleep apnea using a custom oral appliance which repositions the tongue and jaw down and forward to keep the airway open. Comfortable and easy to use, this appliance can be worn alone or in conjunction with a CPAP device to allow patients to sleep all night and wake up feeling refreshed. It is especially helpful for those with mild to moderate OSA, patients who have difficulty using CPAP, and those who travel and do not wish to transport their CPAP.

NOTE: Originally posted October 6th, 2011

Dr. Nadler is featured in NJSavvy Living Magazine, Snoring and Sleep Apnea, and the K-7 Occlusal Evaluation System

It has been a while since my last post, and there have been some major developments in the practice during that time. This article is meant to bring you up to date; and, then, I plan to write blogs on a more regular schedule to explain in detail exactly how these improvements will help our patients.

I am also putting the finishing touches on a “Cosmetic Checklist” to assist patients in determining if they are candidates for cosmetic procedures, and specifically what issues need to be addressed. This checklist should prove very informative for patients, and allow them to become more involved in the process of developing an appropriate treatment plan for themselves. This checklist should be ready in a week or two, and, at that time, I’ll provide an overview of it on this blog as well as details of how to obtain a copy.

First, Tracy Ivie of NJSavvy Living Magazine interviewed me for the Annual Health and Beauty issue. In the article entitled “The Teeth Have It”, current trends in cosmetic dentistry ranging from whitening to implants to complete smile makeovers were explored. In the article, one of our cases was featured to demonstrate the dramatic results which can be attained using up-to-date techniques and technology. I was quoted on a variety of subjects including the importance of establishing underlying dental health before any cosmetic procedure is initiated. As you may imagine, this experience was very gratifying on a professional level. I believe that this issue of the magazine is currently on your newsstands…

Second, our team has taken advanced training in snoring and sleep apnea. This subject has proved fascinating for us, as we have always been concerned with the airway issues of our patients, especially the young ones. Patients often ask why we ask about snoring or allergies or sore throats. Such questions are meant to uncover any airway issues which may have a detrimental effect on their bites. Mouth breathing, large tonsils, large tongues, high or deep palates, improper baby bottle or pacifier shape or usage are some potential causes of malocclusion (bad bites) as well as snoring and sleep apnea. We now have a new understanding of how integrally related are the airway and the mouth and the bite. More importantly, we learned that most people with nighttime breathing issues are unaware of their problem. And, some of these patients have a potentially life-threatening condition. Many others have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and have been treated for their illness with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine which forces air through their nose while sleeping to maintain an open airway. Unfortunately, roughly ninety percent of such patients stop using this device after the first year for a variety of reasons which places them at risk. Fortunately for these patients, alternative dental devices have been developed which help relieve snoring and sleep apnea by repositioning the jaw to reduce or eliminate closed airways. There are a variety of such appliances which are chosen based upon each patient’s individual circumstances.

Finally, we have a fantastic new technology in our office called the K-7 Evaluation System. This device measures and records jaw function and muscle activity through the computer, and provides critical diagnostic information to assist in our neuromuscular restorative dentistry. In addition, using joint sonography, the K-7 provides data about vibrations occurring in the temporomandibular (jaw) joint to evaluate the status of the joint and its cartilage disk function. Using multiple sensors, jaw movement can be tracked and analyzed. And, with a series of electrodes, we can observe jaw muscle activity and truly determine when the muscles are tensed and when they are at rest. This information is invaluable in treating TMJ problems as well as in determining the best position at which to restore a bite. This technology is totally comfortable for the patient and provides a series of on-screen displays which are easily understandable and amazing to witness.

So, now we are up to date with what is going on in the office. Thank you for your patience. I look forward to delving more into snoring and sleep apnea as well as the K-7 in upcoming blogs. If you have any questions pertaining to these or other dental concerns, please do not hesitate to call us @ 908.359.6655 or through our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com.

NOTE: Originally posted April 17th, 2009