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Treatments for Sleep Apnea: Surgical Procedures

shutterstock_246741289For people who suffer from sleep apnea, a poor night’s sleep can be just the beginning. Although they may not remember instances of waking, most people with sleep apnea wake up several times an hour when their breathing is interrupted. In mild to moderate sleep apnea, breathing cessation, and its associated waking or change in sleep, may occur five or more times an hour. In severe sleep apnea, the affected person may wake more than thirty times every hour. This constant interruption in sleep can have far-reaching health consequences: people with sleep apnea are likely to suffer from daytime fatigue, which can result in mood disorders, on-the-job injuries, motor vehicle crashes, and a generally lower quality of life. Additionally, people with sleep apnea are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. Because of the potentially serious health problems that can result from untreated sleep apnea, it is essential for people with this disorder to seek help.

For some people with sleep apnea, lifestyle changes, like losing weight, quitting smoking, or reducing alcohol consumption can dramatically improve their symptoms, or even cure the disorder. For others, lifestyle changes are insufficient; in these cases, special dental appliances, pillows and supports, or even assisted breathing devices like CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines are necessary to control sleep apnea.

When other treatments fail, surgery might be indicated as a last-resort option for sleep apnea treatment. Tissue removal is sometimes successful in relieving symptoms of sleep apnea, such as snoring. In this procedure, soft tissue is removed from the back of the mouth and throat, widening the airway and reducing the vibration that causes snoring. However, this treatment isn’t always successful at treating the root cause of sleep apnea, as tissues deeper in the throat may still block the airway. For people with mild sleep apnea, the implantation of plastic rods into the soft tissues of the throat can help to stabilize the airway. A more radical option is jaw repositioning, which moves the jaw forward and creates more space in the airway, decreasing the likelihood of obstruction. Finally, for people with extremely severe, life-threatening sleep apnea, tracheostomy, in which a tube is inserted through the neck into the trachea, effectively creating a new airway, is sometimes used.

Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care for sleeping problems. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.

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