It may be considered normal to snore on occasional basis-perhaps in times when you are suffering from a cold or after having several drinks before falling asleep. However, like millions of other people around the world, regular snoring could indicate a serious sleep disorder. Usually, snoring which is common among people of all ages is often confused with sleep apnea. Snoring is a common sound made during sleep, often caused by a form of vibration when breathing. The vibration results from the blockage of mouth, throat, or nose airways. That can result from various factors including:
- Sinus infections
- Airway obstruction
- Deviated septum
- Poor muscle tone
Ideally, snoring is a major symptom of sleep apnea. As people age, snoring becomes more severe. Fragmented sleep which could translate to poor functioning during the day could occur. Heart disease and daytime dysfunction are the two major adverse effects believed to be casually linked to snoring. At least, half of those who snore have obstructive sleep apnea. When snoring is accompanied by loud vibration and daytime fatigue, that could be a sign of sleep apnea. This is a major disorder where breathing pauses frequently when one is asleep. The pauses could last up to 20 seconds and are likely to occur up to 100 times each night. With sleep apnea, you are likely to feel exhausted during the day, which could not only affect your mood but your relationship with your partner too. In fact, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) poses a danger to the general health. Since this problem only happens when one is asleep, the person involved may not be aware until a bed mate complains. While it may feel self-conscious, sleep apnea can take a major toll on both the emotional and physical health. While asleep, the throat muscles relax, the tongue falls backward, leading the throat to get narrower and floppy. Afterwards, the throat walls start to vibrate. The narrower the airways, the louder the snoring. Sleep apnea is created when the throat walls collapse completely. Notice that this condition is serious and requires medical attention, especially surgery. OSA causes partial or complete blockage of the airways. There are times it is accompanied by snoring, while other times it may have zero signs of snoring. There are different types of apnea including:
- Central sleep apnea: where breathing pauses while asleep. The pauses are caused by the failure of the brain in sending the right signals to stimulate the muscles involved in the control of breathing.
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This is when the airways collapse or get obstructed. In fact, it is always close to impossible to breathe with collapsed airways. It is a very common type of apnea.
- Complex sleep apnea: This is when both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea happen at the same time.
What are Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
The most notable sign of apnea is OSA and chronic snoring. While snoring, there are likely to be pauses. After the pauses, there may be gasping and choking. When sleeping on the back, the snoring is likely to be at its loudest. Although the snoring may not happen every night, overtime, it may be more frequent. The other common sign is fighting sleep during the day. During quiet inactive moments, you may fall asleep. Other signs include:
- Memory problems and lack of concentration.
- Irritability, depression, personality changes, and mood swings.
- A sore throat.
- Dry mouth.
- Frequent urination during the night.
- High blood pressure.
- Waking up short of breath.
For students, hostile behavior, hypersensitivity, and poor performance may be experienced. Also, children who suffer from sleep apnea may breathe through the mouth during the day. So, how different is snoring from OSA? First, if you are considering surgery, it is important to distinguish simple snoring from OSA. While snoring is harmless, OSA can cause major health complications including heart attack, diabetes, obesity, stroke, among others. Unless the snoring is tested by a professional practitioner to determine if it is apnea or benign, it is not possible to distinguish between the two. The risk factors include weight gain, male, and the aging process. The position and the size of the neck and head structures carry major effects on the risk of apnea.
Why Plastic Surgery is the best for Sleep Apnea
Depending on whether your apnea is mild, moderate, or severe, the doctor will select the most suitable treatment. Conservative therapy may fail in severe cases of apnea. At least 30% mandibular advancement splint treatments fail, while at least 40% of CPAP treatments fail. In such cases, surgery appears to be the best alternative since it is perceived as an instant solution. Every patient has a different shape on the throat and the nose; therefore, the doctor may first measure the airway to find out if there is any abnormal airflow to the lungs. Jaw surgery, for instance, consists of various surgical designs. The bones of the lower and the upper jaw are only repositioned in severe cases. This is done to increase the airway. Maxillomandibular advancement surgery MMA, for instance, is highly successful. It involves the creation of an osteotomy in both the lower and the upper jaws. Not only does this procedure open up the anterior-posterior airway dimensions, but also expands the airway. This prevents the airway from collapsing. The other common procedure is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) which was first used in 1964 to treat habitual snoring. This treatment involves the technique of expanding the oropharyngeal airway space. It is done through excising the posterior of the soft palate by up to 15 mm. UPPP stiffens and shortens the soft palate. This process happens when the uvula is removed partially and the edge of the soft palate is reduced. With the help of a laser, the other similar procedure is called laser assisted uvulo-palato-plasty (LAUPP). There are cases where a radio-frequency probe may be employed to tighten the soft palate.
Why Dr. Jamali?
Dr. Jamali performs a wide range of sleep apnea procedures. He is a fully certified maxillofacial and oral surgeon. So far, he has performed over 1200 anesthesia cases. His objective is to achieve perfect results with low risks through the use of the most involved approaches. As a holder of a doctorate degree from Tufts University, he has undertaken a 4-year residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn New York, one of the largest level one trauma centers. We are located at 42 Broadway, Suite 1501 New York, NY 10004. For the best sleep apnea surgery, contact us on 212-480-2777/ Fax: 212-480-3777.