Sleep apnea is a condition you might not know you have because it affects your breathing when you’re asleep. If you’re experiencing the effects of oxygen deprivation that sleep apnea can cause, the ENT experts at Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC, can help. At their offices in Somerville and Warren, New Jersey, the doctors use cutting edge diagnostic techniques to assess your condition and advanced forms of treatment to resolve the problem. Call Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC, to find out more or schedule a consultation today.

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Sleep apnea is a problem you experience while asleep, where your breathing stops for very short spells. This happens numerous times, leading to a reduction in your blood oxygen levels.

There are two types of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea develops if your brain isn’t sending the right signals to your breathing muscles. This is a far less common condition than obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which develops because your airway becomes partially blocked when you sleep.

The obstruction occurs when your tongue and upper throat meet your soft palate and uvula (tissue hanging in the back of your throat). If these tissues come together while you sleep, they can vibrate and cause snoring. If the lack of airflow is more severe and compromising your breathing, you have sleep apnea.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

It can be hard to know if you have sleep apnea because you’re asleep when the breathing problem’s present. The frequent interruption in airflow does cause symptoms when you’re awake, indicating you’ve got a problem. These symptoms include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Frequently waking to urinate
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability and depression
  • Difficulty concentrating

You might sometimes wake up gasping or choking, or have a dry mouth or sore throat when you get up in the morning.

Having OSA also makes you more likely to develop serious health issues, including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

How is sleep apnea treated?

The primary approach to treating OSA is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). Your provider at Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC, fits you with a device that keeps your airway open while you sleep, using small levels of pressure.

You wear the CPAP device on your face while you sleep. It’s very effective at stabilizing pressure in all parts of your upper airway. Another option is an oral appliance that repositions your lower jaw forward.

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can reduce the severity of your obstructive sleep apnea and help stop you from snoring. Quitting smoking is also advisable. If these conservative approaches aren’t successful, your provider at Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC, might suggest surgery.

What does surgery for obstructive sleep apnea involve?

There are several different surgical approaches to treating OSA. Your provider at Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC, recommends the operation that can best address your condition.

Nasal obstruction

If a nasal obstruction such as a deviated septum, inferior turbinate hypertrophy, or nasal polyp is the root cause of your snoring and sleep disruptions, the doctors offer surgery to correct upper airway syndrome.

They use state-of-the-art surgical techniques to remove abnormal tissue and correct structural irregularities that interfere with your breathing.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

Another option is UPPP, which involves removing or repositioning tissue to open your airway. You might need a tonsillectomy to remove oversized tonsils or adenoids that contribute to your sleep apnea.

COBLATION™ Plasma Technology

The doctors use advanced techniques such as minimally invasive COBLATION Plasma Technology to perform partial tonsillectomies. This minimally invasive procedure offers less scaring quicker recoveries for patients.

Get relief from poor quality sleep and the serious complications OSA can cause by calling Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC, or book an appointment online today.