Common Sleep Disorders And How To Treat Them
A sleep disorder that occurs when an individual’s breathing is interrupted during their sleep is known as sleep apnea (SA). This is a serious disorder. When this is not treated, the repeated stoppage of breathing could result in a person’s body and brain not getting a sufficient amount of oxygen. There are three forms of this condition. The more common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The is a result of a person having their airway blocked. This is caused from the soft tissue in the back of a person’s throat collapsing as they sleep. There is also central sleep apnea (CSA). In this situation, a person’s brain doesn’t send signals to their muscles to breathe. This is caused by the instability of their respiratory control center. There are patients who may also have a less severe type of obstruction known as upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS). This occurs when the breathing effort during sleep puts a person’s tongue in a position that blocks their airways.
Symptoms Of SA
The individual symptoms of CSA, OSA and UARS often overlap. This can make determining which type of SA a person has a challenge.
A person has moments when their breathing stops and is witnessed by another person.
A person may awaken with a sore throat as well as a dry mouth
This is often more prominent when someone has OSA.
A person may experience abrupt awakenings. This will be accompanied by shortness of breath.
A person may have regular morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, attention problems and more.
When a person suspects they or a loved one may have SA, it may be time to seek medical attention. This could be when their snoring becomes so loud it disturbs the sleep of all those around them. A person’s shortness or breath or gasping for air or choking awakens them from sleep. There are intermittent stops in breathing during a person’s sleep and more.
When a person is examined for SA, their physician will want to know about their medical history as well as their family’s medical history. They will then conduct a physical exam. A physician will check for enlarged tissue in a patients nose, mouth as well as throat. When a person has SA, they will have a larger than normal soft palate as well as uvula. A patient may be asked by their physician to keep a diary of their sleep for a few weeks. This diary should include when the person has gone to sleep, woken up as well as naps taken. How rested and alert a patient feels the next day and more. This is valuable information that can assist a physician in determining the type and level of sleep disorder a patient is experiencing.
It may be recommended a person participate in a common sleep study to diagnose their SA. This type of study is known as a polysomnogram. This will record a patient’s heart rate, brain activity, eye movement as well as blood pressure and more. The level of oxygen in a patient’s blood will also be recorded. The movement of air through a person’s nose during sleep, as well as chest movements and snoring, will be recorded. Chest movements determine how much effort a person is making to breathe. This is often conducted in a sleep center and requires a person to sleep with sensors on their scalp, chest, limbs, face, and finger.
It’s possible a patient will be asked to use a home-based portable monitor (HBPM) for their sleep testing. This is done when going to sleep at a lab is not possible. An HBPM can also record a person’s air movement, heart rate, chest movements and more.
Jaw surgery is a possible treatment for OSA. Depending on the situation, a patient’s upper or lower jaw may be moved forward. It’s also possible to have both parts of their jaw moved forward. This procedure is often performed when a patient’s jaw is set back. This is a condition that can appear at birth or after a person’s growing has stopped. Jaw surgery is able to increase the space in a patient’s throat for breathing. This is possible because the structures located around a patient’s throat are connected to their jaw. When the jaw is moved, the ability to create blockage is decreased. This procedure will also move the tongue forward. Doing this appears to improve SA as well as decrease snoring. Surgery could also involve altering a person’s upper airway. This could include such structures as the tonsils, adenoids, nasal septum, tonsillar pillars and more. A radio frequency ablation (RFA) could be done to decrease tissue that may be causing blockage in the airway. Palatal implants are small plastic rods. They could be implanted in the soft palate to make it stiffer and increase a person’s airway. Abnormalities in the larynx causing SA can also be corrected. This type of surgery is complicated. It comes with increased risks and a difficult recovery period. This is often only performed on patients who have not had success with other types of SA treatments. It has been very effective with individuals whose SA is caused by jaw abnormalities.
There are certain things a person can do to avoid experiencing SA. Alcohol, sedatives, and other medications should be avoided before going to bed. They could relax a person’s throat muscles and cause breathing problems. Certain lifestyle changes also help. This includes losing weight. This will decrease the number of times a person will stop breathing during the night. Getting sufficient sleep is also important. Individuals have had success sleeping on their side. It’s important a person avoid sleeping on their back if they have SA. Experts also recommend a person raise their head in bed as they sleep. This helps with improving air flow.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of New York
Dr. Jamali is part of this group. He is a medical professional with the knowledge and experience to treat all forms of SA. He began his career as a dentist before pursuing a career as a surgeon. His office is located at 42 Broadway, Suite 1501, New York, NY 10004 His phone number is 212-480-2777. Contact Dr. Jamali today and learn more.