Snoring results from an often-complex multi-facial problem that can be affected by one or more anatomical factors. For most sufferers, snoring is caused by the vibration of the muscular roof of the mouth, also known as the soft palate. For others, snoring is worsened by an obstruction of the nasal passage. An enlarged uvula, tonsils, and the base of the tongue can also contribute to the problem.
There is no reason to be embarrassed about snoring, or to feel alone. Snoring is a common problem, with 90 million Americans suffering from the condition. While snoring can have a negative impact on your personal life, it can also negatively affect your health, and should therefore be taken seriously. Daytime drowsiness, decreased libido and energy, and even depression can all result from snoring. More serious problems such as an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and high blood pressure can also result from habitual snoring.
Do not wait to have your snoring problem examined. Your Last Name(s) can help you determine the cause and a course of treatment for your snoring, which may help save your relationships- and your life!
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.
Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.
The first step in treatment resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. Ear Nose and Throat offer consultation and treatment options.
In addition to a detailed history, the doctors will assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. With cephalometric (skull x-ray) analysis, the doctors can ascertain the level of obstruction. Sometimes a naso-pharyngeal exam is done with a flexible fiber-optic camera. To confirm the amount of cardiovascular compromise and decreased oxygenation levels, a sleep study may be recommended to monitor an individual overnight.
There are several treatment options available. An initial treatment may consist of using a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. One of the surgical options is an uvulo-palato-pharyngo-plasty (UPPP), which is performed in the back of the soft palate and throat. A similar procedure is sometimes done with the assistance of a laser and is called a laser assisted uvulo-palato-plasty (LAUPP). In other cases, a radio-frequency probe is utilized to tighten the soft palate. These procedures usually performed under light IV sedation in the office.
In more complex cases, the bones of the upper and lower jaw may be repositioned to increase the size of the airway (orthognathic surgery). This procedure is done in the hospital under general anesthesia and requires a one to two day overnight stay in the hospital.
OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Most major medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.
Your sleep apnea surgery will be individualized and not all patients are candidates. You and your surgeon will make these decisions based on your preference, your comprehensive head and neck exam, and your sleep study results.