Sleep Apnea Defined
Sleep apnea is distinguished by the absence of spontaneous breathing during sleep and choking sounds may be noted. This places one at risk for heart failure or stroke. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. It is a debilitating condition that can greatly hinder one’s way of life and that can ultimately be life threatening.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is typically not a disease. Obesity exists in 80 percent of the cases. Overweight patients who have cardiac problems should undergo sleep studies. These studies will help identify whether the oxygen level in the blood is reduced. Whenever possible, the site or cause of the breathing obstruction should be isolated so that the most rational and effective therapy can be instituted. Snoring is a noisy sleep pattern. Airflow through the nose and mouth may be compromised. By itself snoring can be caused by allergy, nasal airway obstruction, elongated soft palate, large tongue, and/or small lower jaw. A visual examination will often provide adequate evidence as to the cause.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
- Snoring caused by nasal swelling due to environmental allergies may be favorably managed by decongestant medications and nasal sprays.
- Snoring caused by nasal obstructions due to abnormal anatomy are best treated surgically.
- Snoring due to an excessively long palate requires a procedure called laser-assisted-uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP)which shortens the palate eliminating much of the nightly disturbance.
- Snoring due to abnormal jaw lines can be treated with surgery. Jaw or chin lengthening brings the tongue forward off the back of the throat, opening the airway.
The staff at Utah Oral Surgeons can help you determine what treatment will best help you overcome sleep apnea and the negative impact it has on your health and loved ones. Please contact one of our three Utah Oral Surgery offices to schedule an appointment.