What's preventing you from getting a good night's sleep? Do you wake up frequently and suddenly during the night? Is daytime fatigue and foggy thinking occurring more often? These symptoms and others could signal one of the most common sleep disorders--sleep apnea. Often life threatening, sleep apnea may be successfully treated by the caring ear, nose and throat physicians at Spartanburg & Greer, SC, ENT.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a medical condition affecting approximately 18 million adults in the United States, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While this sleep disorder tends to happen with overweight males over the age of 40, sleep apnea appears across the population--even in children.
Its main symptom is exceptionally loud and persistent snoring. Additionally, patients with sleep apnea experience:
- Repeated periods of breathing cessation (apnea) lasting 10 seconds or more
- Startled awakening
- Gasping for air
- Dry mouth
- Decreased libido
- Poor concentration
- Memory problems
- Fatigue and drowsiness
Most people with sleep apnea have OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax and cover the airway. Others suffer from CSA, or Central Sleep Apnea, in which the brain does not tell the respiratory system to keep breathing. Some individuals have a combination of the two kinds.
Unfortunately, this sleep disorder contributes to systemic health issues, too, such as diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. In short, sleep apnea must be diagnosed and treated.
How Spartanburg & Greer ENT can help
Drs. Foster, Butehorn, Weir, and Steiniger see many patients with a variety of sleep disorders in their office, including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. To pinpoint why an individual is experiencing sleep difficulties,
the physician may recommend an in-office or at-home sleep study.
For instance, a polysomnogram measures the individual's vital signs, body movements, and oxygen levels while he or she sleeps. This test gives the doctor valuable information to understand the sleep problem.
With a diagnosis in hand, the doctor may prescribe one or more treatment modalities. For sleep apnea, the two most common treatments are:
- CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure This bedside apparatus delivers a steady stream of oxygen through a facial mask. The airflow keeps the throat open, stopping snoring and sleep apnea.
- Oral appliance therapy Worn nightly, a customized mouth guard puts the tongue and jaw in more forward positions, opening the airway so oxygen moves freely.
Some patients benefit from a combination of CPAP and an oral appliance. Additionally, the highly skilled doctors at Spartanburg & Geer ENT can use lifestyle modifications (such as weight loss) and some specialized surgeries to modify the soft tissues of the mouth and throat to keep the airway open.
Is your sleep disturbed?
Whether you are snoring, experiencing insomnia, have restless legs or other sleep problems, please contact Spartanburg & Geer, SC, ENT for a personal consultation. They'll help you achieve a good night's sleep and better overall well-being.