If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or you suspect you may have this disorder, you are definitely in good company. Sleep apnea can strike at any age, and has more to do with your DNA, lifestyle choices and facial construction than most people realize.
While the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device can provide temporary ongoing relief of sleep apnea symptoms, not everybody gets excited about the prospect of having to wear a facial mask at night for the foreseeable future. Many times, patients want to know, “is there a permanent cure for sleep apnea-based snoring?”
The good news is that, yes, there are several options for achieving a permanent cure. In this article, learn more about each of these solutions and why they work so well.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects up to 4 percent of the American population, both adults and children. The word “apnea” comes from a Greek word that translates to mean “without breath.”
This dangerous and potentially deadly disorder rivals diabetes as one of the more common conditions affecting people today. And yet sleep apnea can be surprisingly hard to diagnose.
In this article, learn more about what sleep apnea is, how to know it is time to seek treatment, what snoring has to do with it and what options you have for a permanent cure.
Who Is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
If you are Hispanic, African American or Pacific Islander, you carry a higher genetic risk for developing sleep apnea. But ethnicity is just one of many potential triggers for the onset of sleep apnea.
Facial anatomy plays a major part, in that people who have a more narrow airway, thicker tongue, bigger tonsils, smaller chin and jaw, larger neck and deviated septum are more prone to develop sleep apnea. Males are also more likely than females to develop sleep apnea, and people over age 40 have a higher risk level than those who are younger in years.
What Are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?
For many people, the first and most obvious warning sign that sleep apnea is developing is loud, chronic snoring. Often it is a parent (for kids) or partner (for adults) who first notices and mentions the snoring.
If the snoring is frequently interrupted with gagging, coughing and waking, this is an even stronger indicator that you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
Other more subtle signs can be spotted while you are awake, including these:
- Nagging morning headache.
- Feeling un-rested after a full night’s sleep.
- Higher levels of irritability, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate.
- Depression, anxiety and mood shifts.
- Sore throat and dry mouth in the morning.
- Interrupted sleep or even insomnia.
These symptoms all arise because of decreased oxygen flow. If you have sleep apnea, your airway may become obstructed during sleep as many as 30 times per night. The longer the obstruction, the less oxygen you are taking in and the more at risk you become for some of the serious secondary effects of sleep apnea, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and death.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
There are three main types of sleep apnea: central, obstructive and mixed (complex). Many but not all patients diagnosed with central type sleep apnea also suffer from obstructive type as well (which puts them in the mixed category).
Sleep apnea can be challenging for doctors to diagnose because often they have to wait for a patient to seek treatment for snoring, daytime sleepiness, mood changes or other symptoms before sleep apnea is even suspected.
The first step to diagnosis is to take your symptoms. This is typically what generates a referral to a sleep study center, where you can sleep while under medical supervision to determine type and severity of symptoms. This can be done at home with monitoring equipment or in a sleep center.
Once a diagnosis is given, it is possible to begin treatment for sleep apnea right away before it gets worse.
Can Sleep Apnea Be Cured?
For many patients today, their question isn’t, “Can sleep apnea be managed?,” but “Can sleep apnea be cured?” The good news is that yes, in many cases sleep apnea can be permanently cured through application of cutting edge surgical treatments.
The type of surgery recommended will depend on the severity of symptoms as identified during the sleep study test as well as a full examination by Dr. Jamali to determine how best to resolve respiratory obstructions that occur during sleep.
Here are five main surgical treatments that can deliver permanent results:
- Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). Here, surgical correction may include correcting a deviated septum, too-narrow sinus canals and other upper airway obstructions.
- Uvulo-Palato-Pharyngo-Plasty (UPPP). This procedure surgically removes or relocates tissue in the airway and throat region to remove obstructions.
- Laser Assisted Uvulo-Palato-Pharyngo-Plasty (LAUPPP). This procedure uses a laser to remove or relocate tissue in the airway and throat region to remove obstructions.
- Radio-Frequency Probe Soft Palate Tightening. Tightening the soft palate can correct related airway obstructions.
- Orthognathic (Jaw) Surgery. For severe sleep apnea, corrective jaw surgery can directly address jaw misalignment to eradicate airway obstructions.
Contact Dr. Jamali To Learn More
Dr. Jamali is recognized as a Real Self Top Doctor and Top 100 Provider. He holds a board certification in oral and maxillofacial surgery and practices in the greater New York City, NY, area.
One reason clients choose Dr. Jamali is because he is one of only a handful of surgeons nationwide who holds advanced training in dental anesthesia and pain management. His specialty is reconstructive facial (orthographic) surgery which is one of the most effective permanent treatment solution for obstructive sleep apnea.
To learn more and schedule your consultation, contact our office at 212-480-2777 or visit us online at www.omsofny.com.