Snoring & Sleep Apnea
When we sleep, our throat muscles relax and vibrate when air tries to pass through but is blocked, causing snoring. Snoring is very common and occurs at least occasionally in almost half of all adults. Snoring can be brought on by nasal congestion, alcohol consumption, sleep apnea or simply the anatomy of your mouth. If your tonsils are enlarged, your airway can be narrower and vibrate more when air tries to flow through. Being overweight can also contribute to a narrowed airway.
You may not be aware that you snore unless it is brought to your attention by someone else. Your snoring may disrupt your proper sleeping patterns as well as your partner's. Heavy snorers may suffer from sleep apnea, a condition in which sleep is frequently interrupted by periods of completely obstructed breathing. These periods can last up to 10 seconds at a time.
Treatment of Snoring
For those who experience heavy snoring, and possibly sleep apnea as well, there are several treatment options available.
This procedure involves removing the uvula, which hangs from the rear of the mouth, to stop vibration and snoring. It is performed under general anesthesia.
Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty
Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty, or TAP, is a variety of procedures used to treat snoring and sleep apnea. Some procedures include bipolar cautery, laser and radiofrequency. Laser Assisted Uvula Palatoplasty, or LAUP, removes the obstruction in the airway with a laser while radiofrequency ablation emits energy to the area to shrink the problematic excess tissue.
Genioglossus and Hyoid Advancement
Genioglossus and Hyoid Advancement surgically opens up the lower throat and pulls the tongue muscles forward.
Injection snoreplasty is a nonsurgical treatment for snoring. This procedure injects a hardening agent called sodium tetradecyl sulfate into the upper palate that eventually helps to reduce the volume and frequency of snoring. The agent creates a blister just in front of the uvula, and when the blister hardens a few days later, it pulls the uvula forward to open up the airway and reduce snoring vibrations.
Septoplasty and Turbinate Surgery
These procedures help reduce resistance to air flow through the nose.
As they sleep, people with sleep apnea stop breathing, sometimes hundreds of times per night, and sometimes for a minute or longer. In those with sleep apnea, the upper airway is often blocked, limiting airflow and causing oxygen levels to drop in both the brain and blood. Sleep apnea affects about 18 million people of all ages in the United States.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three different types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Also known as OSA, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form, and occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat closes, blocking or obstructing the airway.
Central Sleep Apnea
The airway remains open in central sleep apnea, but the brain does not send signals to the muscles involved in breathing.
Mixed Sleep Apnea
Mixed sleep apnea combines aspects of the obstructive and central types of apnea. A common warning sign of sleep apnea is snoring, especially when it is interspersed with gasps or lack of breathing.
To resume proper breathing, sleep-apnea sufferers are briefly roused from sleep, disrupting and lowering the quality of their rest. As a result, untreated sleep apnea can cause a number of problems, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, memory problems, weight gain, impotency and headaches, as well as daytime fatigue, which can lead to job impairment and motor vehicle crashes.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
There are a variety of treatments, including oral-appliance therapy, mandibular repositioning, tongue-retaining devices, nasal sprays, traditional surgery and nasal surgery, available for sleep apnea. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and effectively treated. A doctor should be consulted for the best sleep apnea treatment option.
To learn more about our Snoring & Sleep Apnea Services, please contact us at (956) 504-5360 today to schedule an appointment.