As a U of M alum, Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad still follows the teams of his alma mater. And while he is more apt to cheer for the Wolverines on the gridiron, he does love to watch some basketball, as well, especially around tourney time. And while Michigan probably isn’t going to make it into the Big Dance this year, they’ve at least discovered one thing that might have been holding them back: sleep apnea.
Michigan player Brandon Johns was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, and since he’s started treatment, his quality of play has improved dramatically. If this continues, he could be a real force and help to energize next year’s team for an appearance in the tournament. As a sophomore, he has a long time to mature, and with this major obstacle overcome, he will be able to achieve his full measure of greatness.
Low Energy, Weak Play, and Snoring
Johns has likely struggled with sleep apnea for a long time, but he didn’t know it. He says that for as long as he can remember he has had trouble sleeping. Namely, no matter how much sleep he thought he was getting, he felt tired. He experienced chronic fatigue, which made it hard to enjoy life, and it certainly affected his performance on the court.
Many friends and fellow players told Johns that he snored, but he didn’t put together that he might have a serious condition. Like many people, he didn’t think snoring was anything to worry about.
But then over the winter, during training, he was given a survey, a sleep apnea screening questionnaire. We don’t know which one he received, but we use one of the most popular, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, on our site.
Based on Johns’ answers to the questions, he was told he should take a sleep test, which he did, and found out he had sleep apnea. He was prescribed CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) to treat the condition. Since then, his performance on court has improved dramatically, as has his quality of life. Now he says he wakes up at 7am every morning well-rested and ready to take on his day.
We’re hoping that with Johns in better condition, he’ll be a stronger force on the court, helping the Wolverines to take their place in March Madness next year.
Young, Fit People Can Have Sleep Apnea
One of the important lessons of Johns’ story is that you don’t have to be old and fat to have sleep apnea. While it’s true that obesity and age are linked to sleep apnea risk, increasingly high numbers of young, fit people are developing the condition. It relates, at least in part, to developmental jaw changes that make a narrow, constricted airway more common. A narrow airway is more likely to collapse at night, which is what causes obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of the condition.
Since the jaw and the airway develop together, having a less-developed jaw can put you at risk for sleep apnea.
Treatment Alternatives to CPAP in Detroit
Johns was prescribed CPAP for his sleep apnea. This is the most common treatment, but it’s not the only treatment. In fact, it’s not always the one that works best, because about half of all people on CPAP don’t use it regularly or long-term.
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is a more comfortable, convenient treatment for sleep apnea, and it works great for people with narrow airways related to jaw development.
If you are looking for an alternative to CPAP to treat your sleep apnea, a second opinion can tell if you’re a candidate for OAT. Please call (248) 480-0085 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Haddad at the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness in Rochester Hills.