Sleep Apnea Treatment in Atlanta
Everyone, at one time or another, has experienced trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or has been sleepy during the day. People with a sleep disorder experience these and more serious problems. Sleep disorders disrupt and disturb the overall quality of life. More than 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder, and many of the sufferers are completely unaware of it. Many of those who are aware of the problem never choose to seek help.
Many of the sleep disorders can lead to serious problems if left untreated. For example, obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that affects over 20 million Americans, can lead to serious cardiovascular and neurological problems. However, when treated, apnea patients reduce the risk of those serious conditions and dramatically improve the quality of their lives. The Sleep Institute is a sleep apnea treatment Atlanta facility designed to evaluate and treat those sleep disorders that include snoring, sleep apnea, chronic tiredness, insomnia, and difficulty falling asleep.
Primary Sleep Disorders
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Sleep Terrors
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Jet Lag
- Periodic Limb Movement
- Shift Work
- Inadequate Sleep Hygiene (Bad Sleep Habits)
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The most common sleep related breathing disorders are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and loud snoring. They are both due to the narrowing of the airway during sleep. Snoring occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat vibrates as you breathe. Patients who snore are more likely to have OSA than people who do not snore. Those who snore have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure. Sleep apnea can occur in males and females of all ages, weights, and ethnicities. Yet certain risk factors are associated with a higher incidence of sleep apnea such as:
- Excess weight or obesity (body mass index, or BMI, >25)
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Male sex
- Large neck (greater than 17 in men, greater than 16 in women)
- Recessed chin
- Physical abnormality in the nose, throat, or upper airway structure
- Use of alcohol or sleeping pill
Often a loved one is the first to notice the sleep apnea sufferer’s symptoms and suspect something may be wrong. One of our Atlanta ENT doctors can find out if you only have simple snoring, or if your snoring is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. To evaluate this, you will need to take an overnight sleep study, called a polysomnogram. Typically, this test is conducted in a sleep center and measures the individual’s heart rate, respiration, brain activity, eye movement, and blood oxygen level. You will be diagnosed with OSA if two things occur:
- You stop breathing due to a blockage of the airway for more than 10 seconds while asleep.
- This happens more than five times per hour of sleep.
If you have OSA, the sleep study will show if it is mild, moderate, or severe. A person with OSA is often very sleepy during the day because you wake up at the end of the times when you stop breathing. These brief awakenings keep you from enjoying long periods of deep sleep. OSA may lead to sleepiness, heart attack, stroke, and automobile accidents.
Non-Surgical Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment
• Stiffening the Soft Palate A number of in-office procedures using local anesthesia can be administered to harden the soft palate, which then reduce the vibration from air flow. The options include implants (Palatial Implants), injections (Injection Snoreplasty), and plasma energy (Radiofrequency Soft Palate Treatment).
• Allergy Treatment if the airflow problem is due to allergies, nasal steroid sprays or the careful management of allergies can help correct the issue.
• Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Also known as CPAP,this common procedure involves wearing a nasal or facial mask whenever the person sleeps. During its use, the air pressure from natural inhalations helps keep the air passage open. Although it’s generally effective, some people find the mask to be an inconvenience.
• Oral Appliances A device similar to orthodontic retainer is inserted into the mouth at bedtime each night. These appliances keep soft tissue out of the airway, and move the lower jaw a bit further forward for a better breathing position.
• Tongue Base Reduction A newer sleep apnea treatment in Atlanta is an in-office procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to remove a bit of tissue at the base of the tongue. Over the course of several treatments, relief from sleep apnea can be achieved without the nightly use of any appliance.
Surgical Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment
• Nasal Surgery When polyps or a deviated septum are obstructing air flow, surgical treatment under general anesthesia may be required. However Radiofrequency Turbinate Reduction may also be an option; in this office procedure, plasma energy is used to reduce swollen tissue inside the nose.
• Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy Although enlarged tonsils and adenoids are more common in children, snoring in some adults can resolved by removing these small mounds of lymphoid tissue. This is an outpatient surgery procedure under general anesthesia.
• Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty This type of surgery involves removing the tonsils and uvula, and trimming the palate. This keeps the tissues at the back of the throat from collapsing, thereby improving air flow.
• Tongue Surgery The back of a relaxed tongue can often be the cause of airflow restriction, and several surgical procedures can help correct this issue. In Transoral Robotic Surgery, some of the excess tissue in this area can be reduced. In Genioglossus Advancement, a more involved procedure, the part of the jaw bone where the tongue is attached is cut and moved slightly, pulling the entire tongue forward. To increases chances of success, this surgery is sometimes performed along with another procedure known as Hyoid Suspension.
• Tracheostomy If airflow obstruction is occurring above the larynx (or ‘voice box’), this surgical procedure bypasses the upper airway and re-routes airflow through a tracheostomy tube, directly into the trachea (or ‘windpipe’). This can be a very effective procedure, with the tube being kept in place only as long as necessary.
Talk to your doctor at ENT Institute about which treatment options for snoring or sleep apnea would be best for you if you are in the Atlanta area, from Lawrenceville to Alpharetta.