Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that closes the airways at night. There are three forms of the disease: Obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, or mixed sleep Apnea. Not all symptoms involve snoring; However, this is the most obvious. When the collapsible airway where the tongue and upper throat connect with the palate with obstruction is when snoring is audible. Large tonsils, adenoids, and extensive throat tissue are contributing factors and having a cold or sinus infection can cause temporary snoring.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
There are some symptoms to look for if you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea. We all experience fatigue; However, if it lingers on for several weeks when there is no other apparent reason you are tired, you may suffer from sleep apnea. If you are struggling with short-term memory loss, that is a sign of not getting a restful night’s sleep from the interruptions in breathing. Your dentist can even tell if you may have it just by looking at your teeth.
If after seeing your doctor and they identify you may suffer from sleep apnea, the great news is that this is a treatable condition. One option regularly used as a surgery alternative is the CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. This machine comes with a mask that sleep apnea sufferers use at night. Another method is through a mouthpiece worn at night for those who cannot withstand the CPAP. Sleep position therapy is another method of using a device worn at night during sleep to keep your body positioned on your side versus lying on your back.
Talk to Your ENT
Allergy and sinus sufferers are among the candidates for those who may have sleep apnea. If you exhibit the symptoms combined with allergies, contact your ENT. Here are some questions to ask your ENT and/or sleep doctor.
- Ask about referrals to a sleep study.
- If they diagnose you, find out which type of sleep apnea it is.
- Ask for a copy of your sleep study report once they complete it.
- Ask if you can choose your CPAP supplier if they prescribe one.
- Find out about general care of your CPAP machine.
If you have narrowed down that you will have to have surgery, there are different surgeries than can be completed by stages depending on your unique situation.
· Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
· Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction
· Genioglossus Advancement
· Hyoid Suspension
· Midline glossectomy and lingualplasty
· Maxillomandibular osteotomy (MMO) and advancement (MMA)
· Palatal implants
· Laser-assisted uvuloplasty (LAUP)
Narrowing down the possibilities can begin with just an appointment with your health care provider. With the sleep apnea treatment options, your doctor can discuss and help you determine the best approach for you. Don’t suffer in silence; If you feel you have symptoms of sleep apnea, it is essential to see your doctor. Making an appointment today can mean the difference tomorrow.