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Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring and Snoring Treatments Los Angeles California

 

Do I suffer from Snoring? Could I have Sleep Apnea?

Snoring is a very common condition, and affects one third of the US population. Snoring is a loud vibration sound due to flapping of the soft palate and uvula "That little thing at the back of my throat...". There are many causes that can make snoring a problem. For example, nasal blockage due to allergies or a deviated septum. Some people simply have big tonsils, a large tongue, a big uvula, a small jaw, or any combination of these factors. These can all contribute to the snoring. Snoring can be a sign of a more severe condition, called Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated episodes of stoppage of breathing. If untreated, this common condition can lead to premature death from high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and other medical problems. Sleep apnea is easy to treat once it is diagnosed.

 

Can I tell if I have Sleep Apnea?

There are 2 important findings usually found in people who suffer from sleep apnea. The first one is that if your bed-partner has noticed that you stop breathing regularly in your sleep. The other is that you feel excessively tired during the day, and are able to fall asleep in any situation where you are relaxed (excessive daytime sleepiness). If you have any of these symptoms, or if you are not sure, you should see a doctor. One of the best doctors to see is an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. The ENT can evaluate your symptoms, and examine you to diagnose the areas of blockage that are contributing to your apnea. The best way to diagnose sleep apnea is to do a sleep study, and the ENT will likely refer you to get this test done, as part of the evaluation of possible apnea.

 

What treatments are available for Snoring? And for Sleep Apnea?

Treatment vary depending on the diagnosis, and the severity of the problem.

For Snoring, recommendations can include avoiding sleeping pills, alcohol or muscle relaxants. Sleeping on your side instead of your back. New office procedures, such as the Pillar procedure, can reduce or eliminate snoring permanently with a simple 15 minutes in-office treatment. If people have associated nose problems, such as a deviated septum or large turbinates, these can be addressed as well, in order to eliminate nasal congestion, a common contributing factor to snoring. Snoring due to a small jaw or large tongue can sometimes be improved using a dental appliance The Ear, Nose and Throat specialist can diagnose the site of blockage causing the snoring, and recommend the best treatment for your specific needs.

For Sleep Apnea, the initial recommendation is a CPAP machine. This stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and involves a small machine that compresses air, and delivers this compressed air through a mask, into the nose. This must be used every night in order to reduce the risk of untreated apnea. About half the people who try CPAP will tolerate it. The other half feel it is too uncomfortable, and do not want to use it. For those patients, there are multiple other options. The Pillar procedure, very effective for the treatment of snoring, also works very well for sleep apnea of mild or moderate severity. Surgical options also include UPPP (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty), where the soft palate is trimmed, and the tonsils are removed if they are still present. If nasal congestion is a problem, septoplasty may be an option. This treatment straightens the outline of the nasal septum to open up the nasal passages. The procedure itself is simple since it only involves the repositioning of the septum thus opening the nasal airway in the process. Turbinate reduction can be performed at the same time in order to better help with other snoring links. This particular type of surgery can be performed under both general and local anesthesia. Other procedures include tongue base reduction using RF (radio frequency) energy, and hyoid suspension. These are usually done under general anesthesia.

The Beverly Hills Snoring Center provides minimally invasive solutions for patients who snore or suffer from Sleep Apnea.  Our physicians and plastic surgeons are Board Certified Otolaryngolgists (ENT’s – Ear, Nose & Throat) that have years of experience treating snoring and/or sinus problems.  Our offices are conveniently located in Beverly Hills & Newport Beach, CA.

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