Solutions for the Throat
Is It Snoring or Sleep Apnea?
As much as we make jokes about snoring, it can be the result of a serious health problem and can have serious health consequences. Snoring is the rough, irregular or harsh sounds of breathing that is partially obstructed during sleep. Nearly half of all adults snore, at least occasionally. Occasional snoring can be brought on by unusual fatigue, by a cold or seasonal allergies, even by alcohol consumption. Occasional snoring will pass when the reason behind it passes. But, for the 25 percent of people deemed habitual snorers, there may be underlying health problems or sleep disorders that are causing their problem. Common causes of habitual snoring include:
- Anatomy – The structure of your mouth and nasal pathways have a lot to do with snoring. People with a low or thick palate are more likely to snore because this tissue vibrates with breathing during sleep. An elongated palate and uvula can also narrow the airway and cause excessive snoring.
- Nasal problems – Anything that narrows the nasal passages increases the chances that someone will snore. These can include nasal polyps or a deviated septum. Allergies can also play a role, since they can lead to the swelling of nasal tissues and can also be a contributing factor in the formation of polyps.
- Sleep apnea – Sometimes called obstructive sleep apnea, this serious problem results in the complete blockage of the airways for brief periods of time. People with sleep apnea will often wake briefly — sometimes hundreds of times a night — to gasp for air. This can cause a fitful, restless sleep. The symptoms of sleep apnea can extend into the daytime hours and include sleepiness, headache, and the inability to stay awake while driving.
From office based procedures to extensive palate and pharyngeal surgery, the physicians of ENT of Athens offer comprehensive management of obstructive sleep apnea. For individuals who are unable to tolerate CPAP masks, see below, we offer a wide variety of surgical and minimally invasive options to help cure your sleep apnea. From in office laryngoscopy to drug induced sleep endoscopy, your treatment regimen will be tailored to your individual needs and degree of sleep apnea.
What Are Treatments for Snoring and Sleep Apnea?
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is a fancy name for a simple mask attached to a pump. Using the CPAP machine allows the wearer to sleep normally while the forced air keeps their airways open. While this is a very effective treatment, some people find it uncomfortable to wear a mask while trying to sleep.
This outpatient procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia. Using low-intensity radio waves, a doctor can shrink the excess tissue in the soft palate area.
Inspire CPAP Alternative
ENT of Athens is the first in North Georgia to offer Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) therapy, a new treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for those who cannot use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy. Discover more about Inspire here.
During the procedure, while you are under general anesthesia, your doctor will remove and tighten the excess tissue in your throat that is causing you to snore. While this procedure is very effective, it does have, as with any surgery, side effects. These include pain, bleeding and the risk of infection.
During this fairly simple procedure, a doctor injects strands of polyester filament into the soft palate area. The strands stiffen the soft palate so it is less likely to sag into the airway and vibrate.
Laser surgery also removes excess throat tissue, but the ENT physician uses a hand-held laser instead of a scalpel. This surgery has the benefit of being an outpatient procedure, though more than one session may be required to reach the desired effects.
With so many treatment options available, you don’t need to live with the health risks associated with excessive snoring or sleep apnea. We can diagnose any underlying conditions associated with your problem and prescribe the most appropriate treatment options for you.
Schedule an appointment at ENT of Athens today and get on your way to a solution and a healthy, restful night’s sleep.