Sleeping Disorders – Snoring and Sleep Apnea
WHY DO WE NEED “QUALITY” SLEEP?
Is it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep and do you often wake up feeling tired or feel as if you haven’t slept at all? You are not alone! More than 40 million Americans report some sort of chronic sleep disturbance. An additional 20 million more Americans experience occasional sleeping programs. The quality of your sleep plays a significant role in your quality of life. If you are sleep deprived, not only your health but your family relationships and job performance can be negatively affected.
Quality sleep will increase longevity and maintain normal mental capacity. The cardiovascular system also relies on the body’s need for normal sleep, to maintain overall health. Memory loss, increased irritability, and decreased energies, may suggest breathing disorders, as manifested by snoring and sleep apnea.
Sleep disorders are a serious medical condition requiring a precise diagnosis and treatment plan, if you are suffering from sleep apnea and/or snoring disorder, contact Dr. Carl Coppola for a consultation.
WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition as you stop breathing off and on while sleeping… Each time you stop breathing, your brain signals you to wake up so you will start to breathe again. Thousands of people of all ages suffer from this cycle of stopping and starting breathing during their sleep. This nightly experience can cause serious health problems such as; high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. It can also cause problems in just meeting the demands of your daily life.
HOW IS SLEEP APNEA DIAGNOSED?
Sleep apnea testing is performed in a controlled environment, a sleep study center.
While an individual sleeps through the night, multiple tests are performed which monitors the individual’s oxygen level, eye movement, muscle movement and brain activities. Dr. Coppola uses the information from these tests (EMG, EOG, EEG,) to diagnose if an individual suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.
HOW IS SLEEP APNEA TREATED?
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, many individuals are advised to try conservative, or non-surgical treatments. Some of these recommendations include, weight loss, positional changes during sleep, and use of a continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP machine. With the CPAP machine a mask is worn at night and air is delivered under pressure to overcome airway obstruction. Many patients find wearing a CPAP machine cumbersome or difficult to wear and often elect to under a surgical solution.
If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Coppola recommends surgical management for this condition. The various types of surgical procedures used are:
- Laser assisted uvuloplasty involves removal of the uvula and reduction of the size of the palate tissue. The goal is to increase the size of the airway.
- Radiofrequency treatment of the palate (TCRF) involves shrinking redundant tissue by using low energy to coagulate tissue. TCRF has almost completely replaced the laser technique due to the pain patients experience from this procedure. TCRF is an outpatient procedure and minimizes pain and bleeding.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a surgical procedure that repositions or removes excess tissue from the uvula (soft palate). The uvula is the small tissue that is found at the back of the throat. The tonsils are often removed and in children, the adenoids may also be removed.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM SNORING?
Yes, it is true! No one likes to sleep with someone who snores and no one likes to wake up on and off night after night. Both the snorer and the sleep partner end up exhausted and frustrated.
In the United States, estimates range from 30 – 50% of the population snore at some time or another. Significant snoring is sometimes described as “heroic” snoring, in which the snoring loudness may be heard from afar. Snoring should not be confused with sleep apnea but many patients who snore also may have obstructive sleep apnea. (See above)
Snoring is a serious health condition as snorers have something interfering with their air as it moves through the nose and mouth while they are sleeping. The snoring noise is the sound of the air trying to make its way through the crowded passage. Prolonged snoring can harm your body.
Dr. Coppola advises that there are many problems that cause snoring. These include:
- Soft palate sagging
- Uvula elongating or thickness
- Nasal turbinates (small bones in the nose) that are enlarged
- Large tongue
- Adenoid tissue obstruction
HOW IS SNORING TREATED?
Some of the same treatments for sleep apnea are also used to treat snoring. These include:
- Laser assisted uvuloplasty involves removal of the uvula and reduction of the size of the palate tissue. The goal is to increase the size of the airway resulting in the reduction of snoring.
- Radiofrequency treatment of the nasal turbinate involves shrinking the size of the nasal turbinates and increasing the size of the airway. Dr. Coppola advises that multiple treatments may be needed.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a surgical procedure that repositions or removes excess tissue from the uvula (soft palate). By removing the tissue snoring decreases.
- Uvulectomy involves removing an enlarged uvula which may be causing snoring, as well as difficulty with swallowing. An uvulectomy may be performed in office, if you are a good candidate.
Don’t let these potential life shortening and quality of life conditions continue. Seek immediate diagnosis with Dr. Carl Coppola at 502-893-3683 to address these serious condition.