Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep Apnea Treatment in the Philadelphia, PA Area
Do you or your partner snore during sleep? Have you ever woken up exhausted from the night before, but unsure why? Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing during periods of sleep, which usually occurs because of a blockage in the airway. The relaxed muscles at the back of the throat cause the throat to close, which stops breathing, typically from 20 seconds to up to 3 minutes. Most sleep apnea sufferers experience this cycle of snoring, apnea and awakening five or more times a night. This condition has been linked to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and heart disease, making it very important to understand if you have sleep apnea and how to treat it.
Simple Techniques Offer Relief
Some simple techniques for alleviating mild apnea are to sleep on your sides and not your back. Avoid alcohol or sedatives before bedtime. In mild cases, treatment may consist of nasal decongestants, inhaled steroid preparations or oral mouth devices that force the jaw forward to prevent the tongue from falling back and constricting the throat.
More aggressive treatment depends on the diagnosis. An examination will reveal if nasal allergy, infection, deformity, or tonsils and adenoids cause your snoring. Snoring or obstructive sleep apnea may respond to various treatments offered by your ENT including:
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) – surgery for treating obstructive sleep apnea. It tightens flabby tissues in the throat and palate, expanding air passages.
- Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty (TAP) – refers to procedures and techniques that treat snoring and some of them also are used to treat various severities of obstructive sleep apnea.
- Genioglossus and hyoid advancement – surgical procedure for the treatment of sleep apnea that prevents collapse of the lower throat and pulls the tongue muscles forward.
If surgery is too risky or unwanted, the patient may sleep every night with a nasal mask that delivers air pressure to the throat. In severe cases, surgery may be called for to open the airway, including a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy or deviated septum repair. A sleep study, which can now be done at home, in your own bed, can be done to determine if you have sleep apnea.
For those who suffer from debilitating snoring or think they may have sleep apnea, contact your ENT and schedule an appointment for proper diagnosis. Snoring and sleep apnea are not something to ignore, and early treatment is important in protecting your health in the long run.