By Ear, Nose, Throat & Plastic Surgery, Inc.
October 22, 2018
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Sleep Apnea  

Don’t leave your sleep apnea untreated. Better quality sleep can be yours.

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes either shallow breathing or pauses in breathing while asleep. This means that not enough oxygen gets to the brain. Even milder cases of sleep apnea can increase your risk for certain health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. To prevent this from happening, it’s important that you turn to our St. Luke's Hospital, otolaryngologist Dr. Paul Burk for treatment.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The most common symptom is frequent and loud snoring. If the snoring is bad enough to affect your partner’s sleep or if you find yourself snoring no matter what position you sleep in then your snoring could be due to sleep apnea.

Besides snoring, those with sleep apnea will wake up feeling exhausted even if they’ve gotten a full night’s rest. The exhaustion associated with sleep apnea is pretty extreme and can cause people to nod off at work or even while driving home from work. You may also find yourself experiencing:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Poor memory
  • Mood swings (e.g. increased irritability, anxiety, etc)

When should I see a doctor?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, or if your partner has been complaining about your loud and disruptive snoring then it’s a good idea to visit our St. Luke's Hospital, ENT doctor to figure out if sleep apnea is to blame. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, we will examine the nose, mouth and throat.

Through this thorough physical examination, we can determine if your snoring is due to an infection, nasal obstruction, issues with the tonsils or allergies. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, know that there are ways to manage this chronic condition.

How will an ear, nose & throat doctor treat my sleep apnea?

There are a few options for treating your sleep apnea symptoms. The first and most commonly used treatment option is CPAP therapy, which stands for continuous positive airways pressure. A nasal mask is worn while you are asleep. This mask is attached to a machine that administers just enough pressure to keep the airways open and to prevent the tissue in the back of the throat from collapsing.

If you have mild sleep apnea, a custom-made oral appliance might be all you need to manage your symptoms. This device looks similar to a night guard and it helps keep the airways open and to prevent the tongue from obstructing the throat.

Sometimes surgery is necessary to correct severe snoring or sleep apnea. The most common type of surgery is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), in which excess tissue is removed from the throat to reduce the vibrations that cause snoring.

Whether you are currently looking for the best way to treat your sleep apnea symptoms or you are living in St. Luke's Hospital, and dealing with symptoms of sleep apnea it’s important that you have an ENT specialist who can help. Call our office today to learn more about your treatment options.

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