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Sleep is the time when the body takes a break. When we sleep, our brain and body recover and prepare for the stresses of the upcoming day. But if you have problems with snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you may not only be prevented from getting a good night’s sleep, but you could also be at risk for a bevy of other health issues.

Snoring at night may be an annoyance to a spouse or others in the home, but snoring isn't inherently unhealthy. However, snoring could be a sign of something more serious — sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat during sleep. The upper airway is blocked and airflow stops, causing depleted oxygen levels in the brain. When these levels become low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, causing the throat to clear and the flow of air to begin again.

Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation can lead to serious cardiovascular problems, as well as excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of concentration and even depression.

First, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea, which include:

  • Waking up with a sore or dry throat
  • Snoring
  • Waking up to yourself gasping
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Depression
  • Waking up frequently throughout the night or insomnia

Though it’s hard to know exactly what’s happening while you sleep, if you recognize any symptoms or suspect that sleep apnea might be an issue for you, be sure to seek out a consultation to learn more about what treatment plan is right for you.

There are several treatment options available for snoring and sleep apnea. An initial treatment may consist of using a nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night.

One of the surgical options is an uvulo-palato-pharyngo-plasty (UPPP), which is performed in the back of the soft palate and throat. The procedure increases the width of the airway in the throat by removing soft tissue. A similar procedure is sometimes done with the assistance of a laser and is called a laser assisted uvulo-palato-plasty (LAUPP).

In other cases, a radio-frequency probe is utilized to tighten the soft palate. These procedures are usually performed under light IV sedation in the office.

In more complex cases, the bones of the upper and lower jaw may be repositioned to increase the size of the airway (orthognathic surgery). This procedure is done in the hospital under general anesthesia and requires a one to two day overnight stay in the hospital.

Every case is different and patients should contact an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to see what treatment option is best for them. If you snore and/or have symptoms of sleep apnea, call Texas Oral Surgery Group at 972-471-9596 to arrange an appointment or visit the website at www.texasoralsurgerygroup.com.

Texas Oral Surgery Group
Plano, Allen, Denton, Decatur, Gainesville, Texas

972-471-9596
www.texasoralsurgerygroup.com

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