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Sleep Apnea & Your Treatment Options

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder where breathing is frequently briefly interrupted while you're sleeping. Though this condition can cause serious complications, including heart problems, liver problems, fatigue, and type 2 diabetes, treatment options are available.

Types of Sleep Apnea

The three kinds of sleep apnea are: obstructive, where breathing interruptions are caused by the relaxing of the throat muscles; central, where the brain does not communicate correctly with the muscles that control breathing; and complex sleep apnea syndrome, where both types of sleep apnea are present. The most common form of this disorder is obstructive sleep apnea.

Signs and Symptoms

While you are unaware of the breathing interruptions experienced while sleeping, they still disrupt a good night's rest. For that reason, the most common sign of sleep apnea is daytime fatigue. You may also experience loud snoring noticed by a partner, a dry mouth, headache, or sore throat in the morning, insomnia, attention problems, or irritability. This condition is more common among men, the elderly, people who are overweight or obese, those who have a neck circumference larger than 17 inches for men and 15 inches for women, and people who smoke or use alcohol or sedatives.

Treatment Options Available

Dr. Raja offers the latest in sleep apnea treatment for those who have been diagnosed with this condition. In some cases, lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, smoking cessation, or allergy treatment, will resolve the condition. In other cases, medical treatment is required. Treatment options include:

  • Airway pressure devices: A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is attached to a mask that fits over your nose and mouth to deliver pressure that keeps your breathing passages open during the night. For those with more mild forms of sleep apnea, a expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) device may be effective. These single use valves are placed over the nostril to increase airway pressure without the use of a machine.
  • Surgery: For severe cases of sleep apnea that cannot be corrected with the devices described above, surgery may be required. Removal of the tonsils, adenoids, and tissue from the roof of the mouth and back of the throat may be effective to control the snoring associated with sleep apnea by widening the airway. For people with severe, life-threatening sleep apnea, the problem may need to be corrected through jaw repositioning or the creation of a new airway passage.

If you are experiencing signs of sleep apnea, visit Dr. Raja for a consultation. Schedule your appointment today.

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