Snoring and Sleep Disorders
Everyone has difficulty sleeping now and again, but if you suffer from chronically poor sleep quality, help is available. The majority of sleep disorders are treatable. Loud snoring, non-refreshing sleep, morning headaches, dry mouth, waking with a choking sensation, excessive daytime sleepiness and shortness of breath are just a few of the signs and symptoms of a sleeping disorder.
Bucks ENT Associates provides evaluations for pediatric and adult patients with various sleep complaints.
Assessing the severity of your sleep apnea:
The initial screening test for sleep apnea is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
Patients with a high score are often referred for a sleep study, which is performed in order to effectively screen for obstructive sleep apnea (OBS).
If you’re concerned about the possibility of having a sleep disorder, a home sleep study can be ordered (when appropriate).
When required, an all-night sleep study called a polysomnogram may be ordered. We refer our patients to local sleep centers and once a diagnosis is established our physicians can provide a complete solution for care of the patient including all medical and surgical treatment options.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
Various forms of treatment are recognized for obstructive sleep apnea including CPAP therapy, positional therapy, oral appliances, weight loss, and surgical correction of any anatomical abnormalities.
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is the most common treatment for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. This machine uses a variety of masks that fit either over the mouth and nose or just the nose. It blows air into your throat to help keep your airway open while you sleep. There are several health benefits to using a CPAP machines including prevention of cardiovascular events.
Oral Appliances may help some patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. If your OSA is more severe we may recommend and can fit you for an oral appliance or refer you to a dentist that can make a custom-fit mouthpiece which will adjust your lower jaw and your tongue to help keep the airway open while sleeping.
Surgical Options may benefit some patients with obstructive sleep apnea. The surgical procedures listed below may be staged at several week intervals to allow for patient recovery and to monitor the patient for residual symptoms.
- Septoplasty and turbinate reduction - can improve the nasal airway if airflow through the nose is compromised.
- Tongue Suspension - Tongue based procedures can help reduce or reposition the tongue base if it is large enough to obstruct airflow.
- Hyoid Suspension – The Airlift Procedure
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty - can enlarge the airway in the throat by removing excess tissue of the palate if it is the cause of obstruction.
- Inspire Therapy – A Breakthrough Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Positional Therapy may benefit some patients which have obstructive sleep apnea when sleeping on their back. Sleeping on your side will help keep their throat open throughout the night.
Weight Loss can also benefit patients with obstructive sleep apnea. With obesity comes other health problems that are linked with obstructive sleep apnea including hypertension and heart problems. Losing weight helps eliminate excess fat that blocks the throat.