Do you or your loved ones snore? Studies have shown that 45 percent of the population snores, but 25 percent of all adults snore habitually. For some, snoring is a minor irritation that can be caused from hay fever or congestion. Other individuals snoring can be a result of their breathing being obstructed in some way, which can be a serious problem that needs to be addressed. This is where sleep apnea falls in the realm of snoring, and it may need to be controlled with medical treatment.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can be serious, as it effects how well you breathe as you sleep. This condition is actually a disruption in your breathing pattern that keeps you from breathing regularly for a small amount of time. This disruption can result in your body not getting the oxygen it requires to function properly during the night, which can eventually cause other health issues. The severity of the disruption can range quite a bit, but in some situations, an individual can stop breathing hundreds of times a night. Breathing is a function that is required to live, so obviously, this is not a situation that you want to ignore.
There are two types of sleep apnea that you should be aware of. The first and most common form of this disease is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). As the name implies, this type of sleep apnea is the result of an obstruction or a blockage in your airway that is hindering you from breathing properly. This can be your tongue, enlarged tonsils, enlarged adenoids, or an enlarged uvula. Less severe obstructions are referred to as upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), which often causes the same type of symptoms in patients.
Central sleep apnea is another type of breathing disorder where your brain fails to inform your respiratory systems that it needs to breathe. There is not obstruction with this type of sleep apnea; it is more of an inability to control your breathing as you sleep.
Who is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, regardless of their age, health, or sleeping habits; in fact, it can even be a disease that children can suffer from. Even though, this is true, there are still some individuals who may be at a higher risk. This included any male who is over the age of 40. Being overweight with a neck size that is greater than 17 inches for males and 16 inches for females can also put you at a higher risk. Some other risk factors can include a family history of sleep apnea, a large tongue, large tonsils, a small jaw bone, and gastroesophageal reflux. Nasal obstructions caused by sinuses, allergies, a deviated septum, or anything else can also increase your risk.
What Happens when Sleep Apnea is Not Treated?
If sleep apnea is not treated, it can affect how you function on a daily basis. It can be responsible for a poor level of performance in work and school. It can make it harder for you to concentrate as well as make the effects of ADHD more severe. Some common effects that many who have sleep apnea feel is depression and headaches, but it can actually cause more damage than that to your body, as the oxygen level that is getting to your body is being limited. As a result, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, diabetes, and it can even cause heart failure or lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Catching sleep apnea early can ensure that your health risk do not increase due to a lack of oxygen in your blood.
What can be Done to Prevent Sleep Apnea?
Since breathing is a daily function that our bodies require, it is best to treat your sleep apnea to make sure your body can function properly. Some of the more common treatments involve simple lifestyle changes, which can include eating healthier and losing weight. Sometimes breathing machines and nose dilators can be used to decrease the effects of sleep apnea. In most severe cases of sleep apnea, surgeries can be used to make it easier to breathe at night.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is one type of surgery that can be used, as it removes excess throat tissue that may be blocking your airway as you sleep. If your tonsils or adenoids seem to be the main cause of your sleep apnea, then a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy may be the best course of action for you. In fact, in some cases these two procedures may both be required to fully clear your airways. Sometimes a simple solution will not clear the airways, and in these more complex cases, orthognathic surgery may be performed, which is a procedure that will reposition your jaw to create a larger airway. This is actually the most effective method of solving your sleep apnea, as it actually creates larger airways that allow you to breathe naturally instead of simply forcing air into your body like a breathing machine would do.
Orthognathic surgery is a type of jaw reconstructive surgery that will change that way your jaw is positioned, it will make it easier for you to breathe, which will effectively unblock your airway and reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. Doctor Jamali at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of New York is a well-trained surgeon who specializes in treatment such as this in the five boroughs of the city. Before any treatment is agreed upon, a consultation is scheduled to take x-rays of your jaw and your care and treatments will be discussed. Three dimensional models are used to give you a better idea of what will occur during the procedure as well as how your bite and jaw line will look after it is complete.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, and you feel that orthognathic surgery is the best option for you, Dr. Jamali will be happy to work closely with your dentist during your treatment to help solve your sleep apnea concerns. Call 212-480-2777 to set up a consultation with Dr. Majid Jamali to find out more about sleep apnea and the benefits of orthognathic surgery. Once your appointment is scheduled, you will find The Oral Maxillofacial Surgery of New York located at 42 Broadway, Suite 1501, New York, NY 10004.