What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the condition where the soft tissues of the tongue, soft palate and neck collapse on the windpipe during sleep. This collapse of soft tissue closes off the windpipe and causes disruption of sleep. Your brain senses that your airway is blocked and startles you awake from sleep. This would not be a problem if it happened once or twice per night. The problem arises when this happens over and over again throughout the night.
Since you are being startled awake all night you become very tired throughout the day and have excessive daytime sleepiness. Often the significant other of the person with the disorder will become aware of these episodes as well.
Sleep Apnea Has Been Linked to:
- Heart Disease,
- High Blood Pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Weight Gain
- Adult Asthma and
- Acid Reflux
What Treatments Can A Surgeon Offer?
Sleep Apnea is treated by increasing the size of the airway so that either 1. the tissues no longer collapse into the airway or 2. the collapsing tissues don’t block the airway to as large of a degree.
Surgery is done on those patients who are unable to tolerate a CPAP machine or those who cannot tolerate a dental appliance. CPAP machines and dental appliances are measures that must be done every night to be effective. The benefit of surgery over these appliances is that it can be a permanent solution to the problem.
Surgery can be done on the nose to improve breathing, the palate to reduce snoring and jaws to increase the size of the airway behind the tongue.
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