How body donation to science aids in controlling, eliminating sleep apnea

How body donation to science aids in controlling, eliminating sleep apnea

The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that roughly 6% of those living in the United States suffer from 1 of 3 forms of sleep apnea, a potentially serious and life-threatening condition.

A good night’s sleep is paramount to health and longevity, and Science Care donors are playing their part to ensure we can all rest a bit easier by contributing to advancements in the effort to better control and eliminate sleep apnea in patients.

Types of sleep apnea

Sleep Apnea has the potential to manifest in 3 different ways:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, where the airway becomes physically blocked during sleep, usually by the tongue or other anatomy of the nasal cavity or throat. This is the most common form of sleep apnea.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea is related to the functionality of the central nervous system. This manifestation occurs when the patient’s brain fails to communicate with the muscles responsible for facilitating the function of breathing.
  3. Complex Sleep Apnea is diagnosed when a combination of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea occur in the same patient.  

Signs of sleep apnea

  • Snoring
  • Restlessness while at sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Frequently waking up with headaches
  • Waking up with an extremely dry mouth
  • Pain manifesting in the jaw or specific teeth
  • Waking up suddenly and gasping for air

Sleep apnea can often lead to more serious conditions such as insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and episodes where the patient ceases to breathe, to name a few.    

Visit sleepapenea.org for more information regarding the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. If you think you may be experiencing sleep apnea, your physician can perform simple tests to properly diagnose and recommend/prescribe the proper treatments.

Donor contributions toward more restful sleep

Science Care donors have provided researchers the opportunity to develop new, advanced forms of treatment to combat sleep apnea in patients suffering from moderate to severe cases of the disorder.

Additionally, Science Care donors have afforded surgeons the training necessary to develop skills and competence in correcting the anatomy associated with causing obstructive sleep apnea. Such training includes:

  • Surgical removal of tissues including the tonsils and adenoids
  • Surgical correction of the sinus/septum
  • Surgical realignment of the jaw to improve the flow of air through the upper airway

These treatments are effective at preventing the blockage of the airway by anatomy of the nasal cavity and the throat, as seen in patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.

Additionally, Science Care donors have contributed to the development of implantable medical devices which stimulate the muscles in the upper airway, eliminating the need for bulky, archaic, and uncomfortable CPAP and BPAP machines, allowing for more effective and constant treatment of central sleep apnea.

Improving general health and longevity

More restful, sounder sleep fosters better general health and longevity. Through their contributions toward more efficient, effective means of controlling sleep apnea, Science Care donors are aiding in preventing the more serious conditions which are caused by and arise out of the disorder, thereby improving overall patient health, longevity, and quality of life.

Thank you to our donor community for the contributions you have made toward affording us all the opportunity to rest easier!

Check out how body donation to science has impacted other areas of medical research and education, too.

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