SNORING: NOT NECESSARILY SLEEP APNEA
It is important to determine whether you are snoring or suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It’s estimated that approximately 30%-50% of the US population snore. Snoring occurs when excessive tissues of the soft palate vibrate as a result of airflow during sleep. Your surgeon can help determine whether further workup is needed to rule out sleep apnea. Snoring that is not associated with sleep apnea may also be problematic by causing sleep disturbances and marital discord.
Various treatment options are available to help reduce snoring. Some non-medical treatments that may alleviate snoring include:
- Weight loss
- Change of sleeping position
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals within two hours of bedtime
- Avoid sedatives
If these modifications are unsuccessful, an oral appliance (mandibular repositioning device) can be fabricated to treat snoring and mild sleep apnea. In certain situations, surgical procedures can be beneficial, if non-surgical modalities prove unsuccessful in snoring reduction. The Pillar Procedure is a simple and effective treatment for snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea and is typically done under local anesthesia. Your surgeon will help you determine the best treatment option.
Unlike snoring, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires medical attention. The risks of undiagnosed OSA include heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart disease and decreased libido. In addition, the excessive daytime sleepiness caused by OSA can result in accidents, lost productivity and interpersonal relationship problems.
SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA
- Snoring with pauses in breathing
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Restless sleep
- Memory loss
- High blood pressure
- Nighttime chest pain
- Problem with excess weight
- Large neck circumference
- Morning headaches
- Reduced libido
If you exhibit several OSA symptoms, you should visit one of our doctors for a complete examination and an accurate diagnosis. A sleep study (polysomnography) may be necessary to accurately diagnosis your condition.
TREATING SLEEP APNEA
There are several treatment modalities that can effectively treat OSA. Depending on the severity of your OSA, your doctor will select the treatment that is best for you. An initial treatment may consist of using a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized air through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. Some patients with mild forms of OSA can be treated with an oral appliance that is custom fabricated by your surgeon to bring the lower jaw and tongue forward. This results in decreased airway obstruction while you sleep. Patients that do not tolerate nasal CPAP may be candidates for surgical treatment. Your surgeon will discuss treatment options based on your clinical exam, x-rays, as well as information obtained from your sleep study.
OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Most major medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.