What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
OSA is when a person stops breathing during sleep because his or her airway collapses and prevents air from getting Into the lungs.
The cycle of OSA starts with snoring. The airway then collapses or doses off. The person tries to breathe but is unable to get air into their lungs through the collapsed airway and breathing stops. This is called an apnea. The brain recognizes that it Is not getting enough oxygen and wakes the person from a deep of level of sleep to a lighter level of sleep.
The airway opens and normal breathing occurs. The person falls back into a deeper sleep begins snoring and the cycle repeats. This may happen many times during the night. The low oxygen levels, and the effort required to breathe during the night, put a strain on the cardiovascular system. The person never feels rested because they never have normal sleep. They have daytime sleepiness and may fall asleep at inappropriate times like at meetings, watching television, and while driving.
Other symptoms Include morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, depression, Irritability, memory loss, and sexual dysfunction.
OSA Is more common than people think. More than 18 million people have OSA and most people remain undiagnosed and untreated. Untreated, patients with OSA are at risk for hypertension, stroke, enlarged heart, irregular heart rhythm, heart attack, and others how Is OSA diagnosed?
The evaluation begins with asking the right questions. Patients at risk undergo an overnight sleep study where they are monitored.
What are some symptoms?
OSA may affect children as well as adults. Symptoms Include snoring, gasping for breath or pauses in breathing, daytime fatigue, weight gain, falling asleep while driving and mouth breathing.
OSA has been linked to high blood pressure, damaged blood vessels, and stroke. Untreated OSA may lead to poor quality of life and short life span.
What treatment is available for OSA?
The most accepted and effective treatment is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP. CPAP is almost always used to treat OSA first. CPAP treats OSA by providing a gentle flow of air through a nasal mask to keep the airway open during sleep. It has to be worn forever unless circumstances change.
Other treatment includes surgery. Surgery may involve procedures such as a septoplasty, tonsillectomy, or palatal surgery. It may also involve tongue advancement or reduction. Finally, surgery can become very complex with major jaw surgery or tracheotomy. These treatments may be effective In some individuals. Your ENT physicians are experts in this area and are up to date with the most modern arid effective techniques.
All patients with OSA need to think of lifestyle changes similar to patients with hypertension or diabetes. Lifestyle modifications include weight loss, exercise, diet, sufficient and regular sleep, avoidance of alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics and tobacco. Patients need to take an active role In their treatment.
With therapy, breathing becomes regular, oxygen levels are normal, sleep is restored, quality of he is improved and risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced.
Sleep services offered by your ENT surgeons include:
- Multiple office locations
- Private sleep lab where you can rest in comfort
- Allergy lab
- Laryngoscopy lab
- Modern office-based snoring surgery
- Surgery at multiple hospitals and surgery centers
- Septoplasty, turbinate reduction, nasal valve surgery, rhinoplasty
- Tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy
- Tongue base advancement
- Radiofrequency palate/tongue reduction
- Tracheotomy/airway surgery
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