Sleep apnea and snoring can cause far more serious problems than occasionally disrupting the sleep of a spouse. Fatigue and agitation are some of the symptoms that can take a toll on sleep apnea sufferers, making just getting through the day difficult. Sleep apnea and a lack of sleep can contribute to systemic health problems such as high blood pressure. Matthew D. Mingrone, M.D. and Larry Aronson, DDS at Bay Area Sleep and Breathing Solutions are committed to relieving patients of sleep apnea and snoring at their San Jose, CA, and San Francisco, CA, offices.
Sleep Apnea vs. Snoring
Most people snore at some point in their lives. This occurs when the air in the mouth and throat becomes turbulent and vibrates the uvula and the soft palate just above the throat. Relaxed throat muscles are a common culprit in changing the airflow of our breathing passages, leading to snoring.
Thank you, and Dr. Mingrone. He’s the first Dr. I had seen in the city that I felt actually heard me.
When the muscles supporting your throat and ability to swallow become slack, they can also cause the most common type of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea. Since the throat muscles relax so much in obstructive sleep apnea patients, their airway becomes blocked. As a result, patients may wake up during the night for a few seconds, several times an hour. Those moments of wakefulness are so brief, that patients may not recall them. They may, however, awaken in the morning feeling unexplainably groggy and tired.
Patients may realize that they have sleep apnea after not being able to identify other logical causes for their daytime fatigue.
More rarely, an imbalance in the brain's respiratory control centers is to blame for a patient’s sleep disruptions, a condition known as central sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Patients may realize that they have sleep apnea after not being able to identify any other logical cause for their daytime fatigue. More often than not, a sleep partner informs the individual that they have observed snoring or respiration inconsistencies while sleeping. Common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep (usually witnessed by another person)
- Problems staying awake during the day, or generalized daytime fatigue
- Attention problems
- Being easily confused
- Irritability and mood swings
- Headaches, particularly in the morning
- Waking with a gasping or choking sensation
- Awaking with a sore or dry throat
Relief through Treatment
Sleep apnea essentially robs you of proper levels of blood oxygen saturation. Without sufficient oxygen to support your body, a myriad of health problems can arise over time, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other serious health issues.
Your treatment will begin with a comprehensive exam conducted by Dr. Mingrone and Dr. Aronson using the latest diagnostic that provides them with a detailed view of the upper airway anatomy. Patients may also complete a take-home sleeping test to help determine the best treatment method. A take-home sleep test has a few advantages over going to a lab for a sleep test:
- Can be provided the same day
- Results tend to be more accurate, since patients sleep better in their normal environment
- Results are ready in just a few days
- Convenience of sleeping in your own bed
After the diagnostic phase is complete, your treatment plan can be developed. Sleep apnea and snoring treatment differs at our practice in that you will have access to cutting-edge solutions that are tailored to you. Your therapy may involve one treatment method or multiple treatments to address all issues associated with your condition.
CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP ) is a noninvasive system that helps a sleep apnea sufferer breathe more easily during their sleep. The CPAP mask works by increasing air pressure in your throat so that it does not collapse and obstruct airflow.
Oral Appliance: This customized mouth guard fits in your mouth to reposition the way your oral cavity rests to improve breathing patterns.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Functional Nasal Surgery-Latera: This endoscopic procedure restores drainage and ventilation to the sinus cavity. Our advanced take on this surgery is only offered in the Bay Area.
UPPP: This surgical procedure, also known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, treats sleep apnea by removing or remodeling tissue in the throat, specifically the tonsils, and sometimes the adenoids.
Expansion Pharyngoplasty: This procedure involves realigning the muscles in the back of the throat to ease the passage for respiration.
Sinus Surgery: Inflamed sinuses can contribute to sleep apnea. By reducing the inflamed tissue, patients can breathe easier during sleep.
The Pillar® Procedure: This quick procedure is designed to stiffen the soft palate so it does not impede the breathing passage. Our practice is one of only a few in the country performing this procedure.
Learn More About Your Treatment Options
Millions of Americans have their everyday lives compromised by sleep apnea, and many are completely unaware. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, contact us today to learn which treatments can help make you feel more rested as well as improve your health and quality of life.