You can snore and not have sleep apnea, but for 9% of women and 24% of men, snoring means they have obstructive sleep apnea. Wade Han, MD, FACS, and the team at Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery provide comprehensive treatment for sleep apnea, ranging from lifestyle changes and conservative treatments to surgery that restores an open airway. To get exceptional care for snoring and sleep apnea, call one of the offices in Orlando or Kissimmee, Florida, or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Han or Megha Parekh, PA-C.
When you fall asleep, the muscles in your soft palate, tongue, and throat relax and fall toward your throat, where they partially cover the airway. As you breathe, air flowing past these tissues makes them vibrate, which creates the sound of snoring.
Everyone who snores does not have OSA. However, snoring — especially loud snoring — is OSA’s top symptom. OSA occurs when the soft tissues completely block the airway and you stop breathing. Low oxygen triggers an alarm in your brain, which in turn, wakes you up just enough to take a breath. This chain of events creates a distinct pattern that’s usually noticed by your housemates: loud snoring, sudden silence when you stop breathing, followed by a gasp or snort when you take a breath.
Patients who stop breathing at least five times every hour are diagnosed with OSA. In severe cases of OSA, you can stop breathing 30 or more times every hour.
Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain stops sending signals to the muscles that control your breathing. Your airway stays open, yet you still stop breathing. Central sleep apnea most often affects patients with heart conditions.
The symptoms of OSA include:
The symptoms of central sleep apnea include:
Patients with central sleep apnea may also snore, but snoring isn’t a primary symptom.
For patients with central sleep apnea, the underlying problem must be identified and treated. Your apnea episodes may be relieved with bilevel airway pressure or auto servo-ventilation devices, which regulate your breathing while you sleep.
Mild cases of OSA may be treated with lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or avoiding alcohol consumption near bedtime. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the preferred treatment for moderate-to-severe OSA. If you have a mild case of OSA, it may also be treated with an oral appliance, which is a mouthguard that prevents your tongue from falling backward.
If conservative treatments don’t help your OSA, Dr. Han may recommend surgery to remove excess tissue and open the airway. Several surgical procedures are effective, including uvulopalatopharyngoplasty to tighten throat tissues and maxillomandibular advancement, which moves the jaw forward to create a larger airway.
To get medical care for sleep apnea, call Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery or schedule an appointment online.