Are you or a loved one struggling with restless nights, persistent fatigue, and other sleep-related concerns? You might be dealing with sleep apnea, a common yet often unrecognized sleep disorder. At My Houston Surgeons, we are dedicated to providing top-notch care and expertise in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea for patients in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas.
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by interruptions in breathing while you sleep. These pauses in breathing can be central (related to brain signaling) or obstructive (due to physical airway blockages). Such disruptions can lead to disrupted sleep cycles, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and various health complications such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three main types of sleep apnea, and each is graded according to the number of disruptive events per hour: normal (<5), mild (5-14), moderate (15-29), and severe (30+).
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): The most common type, affecting about 25 million Americans. OSA occurs when the upper airway is physically Trusted Source Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) American Sleep Association Go to Source obstructed , often by factors such as narrowed nasal passages, enlarged tonsils, or a collapsing throat.
Central Sleep Apnea: This type involves disruptions in brain signals that control breathing, often seen in high-altitude environments or with opioid medication use.
Complex (Mixed) Sleep Apnea: A combination of OSA and central sleep apnea during testing.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea can manifest through a range of symptoms, making it challenging to identify. Common signs include:
- Consistent snoring
- Daytime sleepiness
- Dry mouth upon waking
- Frequent nighttime awakenings
- Mood swings or irritability
- Morning headaches
- Breathing pauses or gasps
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- High blood pressure
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Several factors increase the likelihood of developing sleep apnea, including age, gender (more common in men), and Trusted Source What is Sleep Apnea? The American Sleep Apnea Association Go to Source obesity . Other risk factors include:
- Chronic sinusitis or allergies
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Alcohol or sedative use
- Enlarged neck circumference
Sleep Apnea Treatments Offered by My Houston Surgeons
Effective treatment for sleep apnea depends on individual factors. Our sinus specialists will guide you through your options, which may include correction of nasal airway dysfunction, referral for CPAP or oral appliance evaluation, and drug-induced sleep endoscopy with a goal of determining if surgical alternatives to CPAP and oral appliance might be beneficial when those fail to be tolerated or provide relief. We offer the following surgical sleep apnea treatment options:
Inspire® Implant: The Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation System is an innovative implantable device designed to address sleep apnea. It functions by delivering an electrical signal to the hypoglossal nerve during inhalation, which in turn moves the tongue forward and opens the airway—a mechanism akin to the pressure support provided by a CPAP machine. This cutting-edge technology is particularly suitable for patients dealing with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea who find it challenging to adhere to regular CPAP or APAP machine usage.
The implantation procedure involves placing the device within the upper right chest and the right neck, just below the jawline. This minimally invasive outpatient procedure typically results in a well-tolerated experience and swift recovery. Before undergoing the surgery, a diagnostic assessment of the throat is essential to evaluate the nature of the airway collapse and determine the suitability of Inspire therapy. This diagnostic evaluation, known as Drug-Induced Sleep Endoscopy (DISE), is conducted under IV sedation to simulate your sleep conditions accurately. When patients are carefully screened, this procedure has a high success rate and can significantly reduce the symptoms and health impact of obstructive sleep apnea without relying on positive airway pressure support.
Surgery for Sleep Apnea: In certain cases, traditional surgical procedures offer effective solutions for managing sleep apnea. A thorough assessment is conducted to identify the root causes of obstructive sleep apnea, which guides the selection of the most appropriate surgical approach for each individual. This comprehensive evaluation typically encompasses:
- Imaging of the nasal airways (CT Sinus) to assess and ensure adequate nasal patency.
- Clinic-based flexible endoscopy to examine the throat.
- When necessary, Drug-Induced Sleep Endoscopy (DISE) is performed to visualize obstructions while the patient is asleep, providing a more precise evaluation.
Other surgical options for sleep apnea include:
- Tonsillectomy: Removal of enlarged tonsils.
- Adenoidectomy: Removal of enlarged adenoids.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): A procedure that shortens and repositions the soft palate and/or uvula to prevent airway obstruction.
- Hyoid Suspension: Repositioning of the hyoid bone in the neck upward and forward to advance the tongue base and expand the upper airway.
What happens if sleep apnea is left untreated?
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to various Trusted Source Risks of Sleep Apnea American Sleep Association Go to Source health issues , including high blood pressure, heart problems, weight gain, and more. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or suspect you may be suffering from this condition, it’s important to see a sinus specialist as soon as possible.
Is sleep apnea related to type 2 diabetes?
Sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes are both significant health conditions, and they tend to be more common in individuals who are overweight. A study revealed that Trusted Source Obstructive sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes: is there a link? Frontiers in Neurology Go to Source over 70% of those with type 2 diabetes also experience obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The disruptions in airflow associated with OSA can adversely impact blood sugar levels and worsen the complications of type 2 diabetes.
Can children have sleep apnea?
Yes, children can develop sleep apnea, often due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids, which can be resolved with a simple outpatient procedure.
Contact My Houston Surgeons For Sleep Apnea Treatment
Quality sleep is essential for your well-being. My Houston Surgeons is dedicated to helping patients breathe easier and improve their overall health and quality of life. Contact us today to learn more about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment options in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas.
1 American Sleep Association. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Available: https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-apnea/obstructive-sleep-apnea/. Accessed October 17, 2023.
2 The American Sleep Apnea Association. What is Sleep Apnea? Available: https://www.sleepapnea.org/what-is-sleep-apnea/ Accessed October 17, 2023.
3 American Sleep Association. Risks of Sleep Apnea. https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-apnea/risks/ Accessed October 17, 2023.
4 Frontiers in Neurology. Obstructive sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes: is there a link? Available: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23015803/. Accessed October 17, 2023.
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