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Sleep is essential to your overall health and well-being. Poor quality sleep is a risk factor for many serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cognitive and mental health issues and increased risk of trauma/injury. Prime ENT provides a comprehensive sleep evaluation and both medical and surgical treatments to optimize sleep, leading to overall improved health and quality of life. 

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that disrupts your natural sleep rhythm. Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. Each pause can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 times or more each hour. The most common sign of sleep apnea is chronic snoring that may include audible choking noises or pauses in breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea spend more time in light sleep and less time in the deep, restorative sleep that is needed to feel well rested. 

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which occurs when the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. Prime ENT surgeons provide many treatments to address the underlying cause of sleep apnea. There are many factors that contribute to sleep apnea, therefore the treatment should be individualized to each patient’s situation and condition. 

A bed partner or roommate may be the first to notice the symptoms of sleep apnea. The person with sleep apnea is often unaware of the signs of sleep apnea that are occurring while they are asleep. 

What factors cause or contribute to obstructive sleep apnea?  

  • Deviated Nasal Septum 
  • Large tongue or tongue with poor muscle tone 
  • Excess tissue in the soft palate 
  • Enlarged tonsils 
  • Obesity
  • Nasal Allergies
  • Chronic Sinusitis
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol Use   

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?   

  • Loud snoring 
  • Excessive sleepiness or lack of energy throughout the day 
  • Morning headaches 
  • Waking up to the sensation of choking or gasping 
  • Restless sleep 
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or a sore throat 
  • Memory loss 
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Irritability, depression and mood swings  

How is sleep apnea treated?

The first step in evaluating sleep apnea is to perform a complete exam of the mouth, palate, throat, nose and sinuses.  This is done painlessly in the office using a small endoscope. 

The next step to evaluate sleep quality is to undergo a sleep test.  This test can normally be done at home with a device that has blue tooth connectivity to your mobile phone app. The app allows our office to upload the test data.  There is no need for a sleep technician to visit your home or for equipment to be returned.  Occasionally, a patient may need to undergo a sleep test overnight in a facility.  Our Prime ENT doctors work closely with the Sleep Center at Lodi Memorial Hospital to provide care for our most complex patients. 

Once your sleep test is completed, your Prime ENT doctor will review the results of these tests with you in-depth and work with you to design an individualized treatment plan that works with your lifestyle and goals. 

What are some recommended treatments? 

  • Lifestyle Changes 
  • Sleeping on your side to prevent airway obstruction 
  • Propping up your head during sleep 
  • Losing weight which can open up the airway and improve sleep apnea symptoms
  • Stopping smoking, as it can contribute to increased inflammation and fluid retention 
  • Avoiding alcohol, sedatives, and sleeping pills because they relax the throat and make airway obstruction worse  

What are some recommended treatments? 

Pressure Masks

Pressure masks that are worn at night. These fit over the nose or over both the nose and mouth.  Positive pressure helps keep your airway open during sleep. These are commonly called CPAP or APAP machines.  

Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)

Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is a sleep apnea and snoring treatment that uses a custom-made mouthpiece that shifts the lower jaw forward and stabilizes the tongue, effectively opening up the airway and reducing the chance of tongue obstruction. 

Sleep Apnea Surgery

  • Tonsillectomy – if the tonsils are contributing to airway obstruction 
  • Adenoidectomy – if the adenoids are an underlying factor causing airway obstruction
  • Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery – if chronic sinusitis or structural abnormalities in the nose are impacting breathing during sleep 
  • Nasal Septoplasty
  • Nasal Polyp Removal
  • Palate Reconstruction
  • Inspire Sleep DeviceClick here to learn more