Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea signHaving obstructive sleep apnea prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep, which can increase your risk of health problems. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to help you manage this condition.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This type of sleep apnea occurs when air has trouble passing through your airway as you sleep. This results in pauses while breathing, which disrupts your sleep and lowers sleep quality. You can have this condition if you have a large tongue or if your tongue muscles are weak. Other possible risk factors that can make you more likely to get sleep apnea include enlarged tonsils, obesity or being overweight and nasal abnormalities. You also have a higher risk of having this condition if you have extra tissue in your soft palate.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Snoring is among the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. You might also have headaches in the morning, feel sleepier than usual during the day and have difficulty concentrating. Obstructive sleep apnea can also cause memory loss. Since this condition can increase your risk of having heart problems and other serious health issues, you should seek treatment.

Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

For some people, making lifestyle changes can ease the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. These might include sleeping on one side, maintaining a healthy weight and giving up smoking. Staying away from alcohol before going to bed can also help. Patients who have more severe or persistent obstructive sleep apnea often need other forms of care. Using a CPAP machine is a common way to treat sleep apnea, but these machines can be uncomfortable or ineffective for some patients.

There are other forms of medical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea besides CPAP machines. Patients might benefit from undergoing a minimally invasive procedure or surgery in order to find relief from this condition. Some of these options include the following:

  • Hyoid Suspension: This procedure involves connecting the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage to minimize airway blockages and keep this part of the airway more stable
  • Lateral Pharyngoplasty: This procedure involves removing soft palate tissue and tissue on both sides of your throat and repositioning it
  • Pillar Procedure: This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting implants in the soft palate, which helps it remain more stiff and allows air to flow more freely through your airway
  • Radiofrequency Ablation of the Base of the Tongue: This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves shrinking tissue at the back of your tongue through the use of radiofrequency energy
  • Tongue Advancement: This procedure involves changing the position of your tongue in order to create more room in your airway, which reduces the risk of obstruction while you sleep
  • Transoral Robotic Surgery: This procedure involves using technology to reach areas in the back of your throat that contribute to obstructive sleep apnea

Which Treatment Is Right for You?

With so many different treatment options available, you’ll need to have a doctor evaluate your condition and make recommendations. The type of treatment that will work best for you will depend on certain factors, such as how severe your sleep apnea is and what is causing it.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, please contact ENT Centers of Excellence for an appointment. We can help you find effective treatment for your condition.

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