Sleep apnea is a common disorder that affects people from all walks of life. Sometimes, sleep apnea can improve with lifestyle changes such as losing weight, abstaining from smoking, and avoiding alcoholic beverages before bedtime. While lifestyle changes can help some people, they are not universally effective, especially if the underlying cause of sleep apnea is excessive tissue blocking airways or nasal abnormalities. Our oral surgeons offer surgical treatment for sleep apnea when less invasive treatment options are ineffective.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is difficult for patients to detect on their own because this disorder occurs when one is asleep. However, some common symptoms accompany this disorder. Many patients feel groggy and fatigued even after what seems like a full night of sleep. Some wake up with headaches and dry mouth. Over time, as sleep deprivation sets in, people with sleep apnea may feel depressed and irritable and have trouble remembering things.
What happens during an episode of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea means that a person stops breathing due to airway obstruction. When a person lies down, the oral passageway can become blocked by soft oral tissue relaxing at the back of the mouth. Episodes of apnea can last up to a minute. When breathing ceases, the brain sends waking signals to the body to rouse the sleeper so that proper breathing can resume. Most patients have multiple episodes of apnea throughout an eight hour sleep cycle.
How does sleep apnea affect my health?
Sleep apnea affects health by depriving a person of rejuvenating rest. It prevents the natural progression through each sleep stage. Over time, untreated sleep apnea can affect the blood’s oxygen levels and research suggests that sleep apnea can weaken the cardiovascular system.
What are the most common treatment options for sleep apnea?
The first line of treatment for sleep apnea involves lifestyle changes and non-invasive breathing appliances such as a CPAP machine. Some patients may wear oral appliances that reposition the lower mandible to open the airway. When these treatments fail, oral surgery is needed to remove excessive tissue.
Call us today at Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery to schedule a sleep apnea consultation with our oral surgery team!