Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment and Management
Research approximates that about 18 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, but unfortunately only 20% have been properly diagnosed and treated. While it is possible to live with the condition without knowing, sleep apnea symptoms negatively affect your quality of life. It increases the risk of complications such as heart disease, blood pressure and depression.
Sleep apnea treatment in Wall Township, NJ, will vary depending on the cause and the level at which an individual is affected. However, the goal of each treatment technique is to try and normalize breathing as you sleep. by normalizing breathing, you get to enjoy a better life without the symptoms and side effects associated with interrupted breathing. Common methods to treat and manage sleep apnea include:
For mild cases of sleep apnea, conservative treatments can fix the problem. This often includes adjusting lifestyle habits and behavior of the patient. If you are overweight, we may advise that you lose some weight to reduce apneic events. Losing weight may however be difficult because of the increased appetite antimetabolic changes associated with sleep apnea. Great discipline is therefore required. You may also have to reduce or completely avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco as well as refrain from using certain medications. If sleeping position is the contributing factor, such as lying on your back, sleeping in a side position may help. You can use pillows or other devices to help you stay on your side as you sleep.
This is often the first type of medical intervention used on most cases of sleep apnea. It is popularly referred to as Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy. Patients are required to put on a mask over their nose and/or mouth, then an air blower gently pushes air up the airways. The air pressure is often adjusted to an amount that is enough to keep the upper airway tissues from collapsing as you sleep. PAP therapy is only effective when in active use, on stopping PAP or not using it properly, the apnea episodes continue. PAP techniques vary depending on the needs of the patient.
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
- Bi-Level PAP
- Auto CPAP or Auto Bi-Level PAP
- Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV)
Oral Appliance Therapy
More people are embracing the use of oral appliances now that there is awareness that they actually effective for controlling apnea. The treatment involves wearing an appliance similar to an orthodontic appliance or a mouth guard while you sleep. the appliance is put inside the mouth and helps hold the lower jaw slightly forward to keep the airway open and prevent the tongue and the muscles in the upper airway from closing and obstructing the airway. The appliances work for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Those with severe apnea but cannot tolerate CPAP can also use oral appliance or combine them with CPAP. Our dental clinic in Wall Township will provide you with a custom appliance upon examination of your teeth, mouth and temporomandibular joint.
If you have an extreme case of obstruction or an abnormal tissue that is blocking the airways, then surgery is a more suitable procedure. This is especially after other methods of treatment such as CPAP have failed. Types of surgeries include:
- Somnoplasty – Uses radiofrequency energy to reduce the size of the soft tissue in the upper airways.
- Tonsillectomy – Gets rid of the tonsillar tissue at the back of the throat.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty(UPPP) – Removes soft tissue in the back of the throat and palate in order to increase the width of the airway at the throat opening.
- Mandibular/maxillary advancement surgery -Corrects facial anomalies or throat obstruction that cause apneic episodes. It is quite invasive and only used for severe cases that involve abnormalities.
- Nasal surgery – Corrects nasal obstructions like a deviated septum
Upper Way Stimulation Therapy
This is a relative new treatment technique called Inspire, that works from within the body, alongside the natural breathing process. It uses a system with three components controlled by a tiny handheld Inspire remote. The components include: a small generator, a breathing sensor and a stimulation lead.
Inspire is implanted along the right side of the neck and chest wall through a surgical procedure that takes 2-3 hours. The patient is usually put under general anesthesia. Four weeks after the surgery the device is ready for use. It is turned on at night using the remote and switched doff at night. The sensor in the chest wall will be monitoring the patient’s breathing and then signal the hypoglossal nerve to stop the tongue from blocking the airways.
If you are looking for sleep apnea doctors near your area, contact our clinic today and you will get professional assistance to ensure sleeping is no longer a nightmare for you.