Snoring and Sleep Apnea (eastbaysnoring.com)



Snoring:

Snoring is a loud, hoarse, or harsh breathing sound that occurs during sleep. Snoring is an important social problem. Persons who share a bed with someone who snores can develop sleep difficulties. Lack of sleep can cause health and social problems. Most people who snore do not have sleep apnea, periods when you completely or partly stop breathing for more than 10 seconds while you sleep. If you or your physician feels that you have sleep apnea, a sleep study may be obtained at home or in a sleep lab setting.
In most people, the vibrations of the soft palate or uvula are responsible for the majority of snoring, with secondary causes pertaining to the nasal passageways and base of tongue. Other important contributing factors can be increased weight, swollen adenoids and tonsils, and the use of sleeping pills, antihistamines, and alcohol at bedtime.

We offer minimally invasive treatment of snoring and mild sleep apnea in the office setting including turbinate reduction, pillar implants, and injection snoreplasty. Other surgical procedures in the operating room to help nasal breathing or obstructive sleep apnea may also have the added benefit of improving snoring.

Other helpful tips to reduce snoring are: avoidance of sedatives at bedtime, sleeping on your side rather than flat on the back, and weight loss.



Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by obstruction of the upper airway. It is characterized by repetitive pauses in breathing during sleep, despite the effort to breathe, and is usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. OSA is commonly accompanied with snoring.
Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea include unexplained daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, and loud snoring (with periods of silence followed by gasps). Less common symptoms are morning headaches; insomnia; trouble concentrating; mood changes such as irritability, anxiety and depression; forgetfulness; increased heart rate and/or blood pressure; decreased sex drive; unexplained weight gain; increased urination and/or nocturia; frequent heartburn or Gastroesophageal reflux disease; and heavy night sweats.

Obstructive sleep apnea also appears to have a genetic component; those with a family history of OSA are more likely to develop it themselves. Lifestyle factors such as smoking may also increase the chances of developing OSA as the chemical irritants in smoke tend to inflame the soft tissue of the upper airway and promote fluid retention, both of which can result in a narrower airway. An individual may also experience or exacerbate OSA with the consumption of alcohol, sedatives, or any other medication that increases sleepiness as most of these drugs are also muscle relaxants. Most cases of OSA are believed to be caused by aging (natural or premature), decreased muscle tone, increased soft tissue around the airway (sometimes due to obesity), and structural features that give rise to a narrowed airway.

Diagnosis is often based on a combination of patient history and sleep studies, known as polysomnography.

There are a variety of treatments for obstructive sleep apnea, depending on an individual's medical history, the severity of the disorder and, most importantly, the specific cause of the obstruction.

The treatment for obstructive sleep apnea in adults with poor oropharyngeal airways secondary to heavy upper body type is varied. Unfortunately, in this most common type of obstructive sleep apnea, unlike some of the cases discussed above, reliable cures are not the rule.

Some treatments involve lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and medications that relax the central nervous system (for example, sedatives and muscle relaxants), losing weight, and quitting smoking. Some people are helped by special pillows or devices that keep them from sleeping on their back, or oral appliances to keep the airway open during sleep. For those cases where these conservative methods are inadequate, doctors can recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a face mask is attached to a tube and a machine that blows pressurized air into the mask and through the airway to keep it open. Some individuals may need a combination of therapies to successfully treat their sleep apnea.

Many surgical options exist for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. They are mostly offered for patients that cannot tolerate or are refractory to CPAP.