Sleep apnea is a condition where normal respiration stops during sleep for any of a number of reasons.
Types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA):
This is the most common type of sleep apnea. It happens when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open. This type of sleep apnea results from physical blockages in the airway. Common causes include obesity, large tonsils, or a small jaw.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA):
This form of apnea is less common. It occurs when the brain fails to control muscles that control breathing. This type of sleep apnea is not caused by a physical blockage in the airway. It comes from a problem with the central nervous system.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome:
This type of sleep apnea is a combination of both Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. It is by far the least common.
It’s important to note that sleep apnea can be mild, moderate, or severe. Severity depends on the number of pauses and reductions in airflow during sleep. A sleep specialist can diagnose the type and severity of sleep apnea by conducting a thorough evaluation.
Best Treatments for Apnea
Lifestyle changes can effectively reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. But, they may not completely prevent severe cases. Some lifestyle changes that can help include:
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
We can reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate OSA by maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing OSA. Excess weight can cause the tissues in our throats to collapse and block the airway during sleep.
Sleeping on Our Side
Sleeping on our back can increase the risk of airway collapse, so it may be helpful for us to sleep on our side instead.
Avoiding Alcohol and Sedatives
Alcohol and sedatives can relax the muscles in our throats and increase the risk of airway collapse. Avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bed helps.
Smoking can irritate and inflame our airways, increasing the risk of airway collapse. Quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of OSA.
Treating Nasal Congestion
If we have nasal congestion, over-the-counter decongestants or saline sprays can help keep our airways open.
When Lifestyle Changes Don’t Work
In severe cases, lifestyle changes may not suffice. Other treatments, such as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure therapy), are proven. Oral appliance therapy may work in some cases. A sleep specialist can help determine the best treatment based on our specific needs.
An oral surgeon can help treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by addressing any physical airway blockages. Some common treatments that an oral surgeon may perform include:
This procedure removes excess tissue from the throat, including the uvula and soft palate. This increases the airway size and reduces the risk of airway collapse during sleep.
Genioglossus Advancement (GA):
This procedure repositions the tongue to prevent it from blocking the airway during sleep.
Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA):
MMA involves repositioning the upper and lower jaws to increase the size of the airway and prevent airway collapse.
This involves suspending the hyoid bone to open the airway during sleep. They Hypoid Bone is located in the neck and helps support the tongue.
It’s important to note that these surgical procedures are for severe cases of OSA. that have not responded to less invasive treatments, such as lifestyle changes or the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Fort Worth Oral Surgery works with your sleep specialist to craft the best treatment.