Sleep Apnea is a very common sleep disorder. This sleep disorder occurs when breathing stops throughout the night. Once breathing begins again, it can cause a loud snore or even a choking sound. There are over 200,000 new cases of sleep apnea per year.
Sleep Apnea’s bad sleep quality causes fatigue throughout the day. There are 3 different types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea and Complex Sleep Apnea. With Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the throat relaxes throughout the night. Central Sleep Apnea means the brain “forgets” to breathe. Complex Sleep Apnea is a combination of both Central and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Who Is the Best Candidate for a Sleep Apnea Testing and Treatment?
The best candidates for sleep apnea studies are people who snore loudly or are very fatigued even after a full night of rest. You should ask your significant other if you snore loudly throughout the night, or if you ever sound like you are gasping for air.
A few other signs of sleep apnea are noticing you wake up throughout the night, having difficulties falling asleep, or even waking up with dry mouth or headaches.
How to Treat Sleep Apnea?
There are many different treatments for sleep apnea, which depend on what kind of sleep apnea you have. If you believe you may have sleep apnea, you should request a sleep study; this will dictate the direction your doctor will take for treating you. For Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a common method of treatment is applying a machine or bag over your nose and mouth. This bag or machine will lightly blow air in your nose to keep the passageway clear. Other treatments for sleep apnea include upper airway surgery, or appliances in the mouth.
When nonsurgical treatments fail to help the obstruction, and especially if snoring from this problem affects one’s bed partner’s sleep, there are several possible surgical cures. One of the most commonly done is the Uvulo-Palato-Pharyngoplasty or UPPP for short. This can be likened to a face lift of the throat. The extra, sagging tissue, which usually includes the tonsils and the uvula (the appendage that hangs down from the back of the palate) is removed and the muscles and soft tissue of the palate and pharynx are tightened. Sometimes correcting a deviated nasal septum is all that is needed.
Dr. Mitchell Blum is a double board certified Facial Plastic Surgeon and Otolaryngologist. Dr. Blum specializes in ear nose and throat surgery. Sleep Apnea is in his direct field of expertise and he would love to help you.