Snoring & Sleep Apnea Richmond VA
Snoring occurs when excessive tissues of the soft palate vibrate as a result of airflow during sleep. Simple snoring may be harmless or it may be a potential sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring that is not associated with sleep apnea may also be problematic by interfering with normal sleep of the patient or spouse. Your surgeon can help determine whether further workup is needed to rule out sleep apnea and recommend effective treatment options.
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep patterns associated with airway obstruction resulting in low blood oxygen levels as well as cardiovascular disease. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the airway is obstructed by excess tissues in the throat or tongue. This blocks the upper airway reducing or completely obstructing airflow. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation can lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals may suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.
Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.
The first step in treatment resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons offer consultation and treatment options.
In addition to a detailed history, the doctors will assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. With cephalometic (skull x-ray) analysis, the doctors can ascertain the level of obstruction. To confirm a diagnosis as well as severity of OSA, a sleep study may be recommended to monitor individuals overnight.
There are several treatment options available. An initial treatment may consist of using a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized air through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. Patients that do not tolerate nasal CPAP may be candidates for surgical treatment. Your surgeon will discuss treatment options based on your clinical exam, x-rays, as well as information obtained from your sleep study.
OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Most major medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.