What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a relatively common disorder that leads to issues with sleeping and even low oxygen levels within the blood. In general, the disorder is caused by a jaw that’s not in its proper position. When the disorder occurs, it’s due to the tongue sucking against the very back of the throat. This covers the airway in the area, disrupting airflow. Eventually, the oxygen in your brain will lessen to the point where you wake up, at which point the problem dissipates. Though it might seem like this disorder isn’t too severe as it only causes you to wake up from sleeping every once in a while, there are a whole host of ways in which sleep apnea can negatively impact your life, which is why you should definitely seek treatments if you’re currently suffering from the disorder in question.
How Sleep Apnea Can Negatively Impact Your Life
Sleep apnea can cause you to stop breathing for anywhere from a few seconds to up to a minute. Because of this, it’s easy to see why it can be harmful to your life. However, the immediate effects of this condition are rather benign. Unfortunately, many people forego seeing a doctor because the symptoms aren’t that severe. This mentality needs to be avoided at all costs. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause many severe and damaging side effects to your body and your life. When sleep apnea occurs in a person, carbon dioxide will increase in the blood until the issues cause that person to wake up.
The heart will then be required to pump at an increased rate in order to eliminate the carbon dioxide from the blood. This puts a lot of strain on the heart, which is where you will start to experience side effects. Some of the primary effects caused by sleep apnea on the heart include a stroke, high blood pressure, increased risk of Diabetes, accidents while driving or at work, headaches, Hypothyroidism and a whole host of other problems. In rare cases, death is a possibility. The most common of these issues is definitely high blood pressure. Over time, the heart will deteriorate in strength and overall condition, which is why treatment is so important.
While there are a myriad of heart issues to look out for with sleep apnea, this condition isn’t limited to how it affects your body. You will also find that it can have a damaging effect on numerous aspects of your life. Not getting enough sleep at night due to apnea has been known to cause people to become more accident prone. In the wrong situation, this can have devastating effects. Untreated sleep apnea will also reduce a person’s reflex time and hand eye coordination. A good amount of sleep is needed for both of these functions to work as intended. When they do not, completing tasks becomes more difficult. When you need to work or go to school for numerous hours in a day, being able to focus is absolutely essential to your continued well-being.
Emotions will also be adversely affected if sleep apnea persists. Being extra tired throughout the day can cause frustration, sadness and a general increase in negative emotions. Eventually, depression can become an issue and you may be unable to cope as you should with the stresses that come with everyday life. These emotional frustrations might also jeopardize relationships with friends, family and your significant other. Thankfully, sleep apnea can be treated. The sooner you seek treatment, the quicker these adverse side effects will abate.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Some of the main courses of treatment available for patients suffering from sleep apnea include plastic surgery treatments. There are two basic types of plastic surgery that treat the condition, known as Uvulo-Palato-Pharyngo-Plasty and Laser Assisted Uvulo-Palato-Plasty. These treatments are more readily referred to as UPPP and LAUPP respectively. They are typically safe and can prove to be life-changing. Before any of these surgical options are implemented, your doctor might prescribe a different form of treatment that uses a CPAP machine at first. This machine sends oxygen through your nose with a nasal mask, which helps greatly with the obstruction caused by sleep apnea.
When it comes to the UPPP treatment, it takes place at the back of what’s known as the soft palate, which is a portion of the roof of your mouth. In general, it removes the excess tissue in this area, making way for a larger airway and less obstruction. It can also take excess tissue from the throat or tonsils, depending on what’s causing the obstruction in the first place. If this treatment isn’t right for you, a very similar procedure is the LAUPP treatment. This treatment uses a safe laser to tighten the soft palate at the roof of your mouth. Some light sedation might be provided during the course of this treatment.
The very best solution for sleep apnea is known as Orthognathic surgery. In this surgical procedure, certain bones within the upper and lower jaw are re-positioned in a manner that allows for a larger airway. With this procedure, the improvements to your breathing during the night are immediate. If you’re considering the procedure, it’s important to note that it will take place in a hospital, where you will undergo general anesthesia until the procedure has been completed. A one to two night stay at the hospital is typically required.
If you’re interested in this procedure, Dr. Jamali is a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon that’s performed over 1,200 cases of general anesthesia and has garnered a lot of experience with performing Orthognathic surgery. Our offices can be found at 42 Broadway, New York, NY 10004, USA. Contact us for additional information at 212-480-2777.