Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Symptoms and Treatment Options

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that occurs when the throat muscles occasionally relax and block the airway while sleeping. Consult your craniofacial and sleep surgeon to learn about the treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea.

Common obstructive sleep apnea symptoms are:

• Irregular and untimely daytime sleepiness and tiredness
• Excessive snoring and irritability
• Breathing interruption during sleep because of upper airway blockage
• Immediate awakening with dry mouth and sore throat
Depression, morning headache and high blood pressure
• Ups and downs in overall body weight
• Difficulty to concentrate on work and poor memory

How Obstructive Sleep Apnea Is Treated

If obstructive sleep apnea is not treated at the right time, it will cause life threatening possibilities of heart attack, impotence, strokes, uneven heartbeats and high blood pressure.

Non-surgical Treatments for OSA

Treatments available for OSA without surgery are:

Behavioral changes -- Mild OSA can be treated effectively with behavioral changes. OSA can be controlled by changing the sleeping position or placing pillows in the right position. A healthy way of life and balanced diet brings about weight loss and improves your sleeping ability.

Medications – Many medications are available to treat symptoms of OSA. Medicines are prescribed for drowsiness, blood pressure, brain stimulation and nasal congestion.

Dental appliances -- Jaw and tongue are pushed forward with palate to prevent closure of upper airway. Increase in airway size pushes more air and OSA conditions are controlled.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – This is an effective method to treat mild and severe OSA. Air pressure holds the tissues and removes upper airway blocks. Comprehensively designed CPAP machines make breathing easy. Bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) and auto-titrating CPAP are other alternatives for CPAP.

Surgical Treatments for OSA

Appropriate sleep apnea treatment is chosen on the basis of individual anatomy of the patient and severity of the disease. Common surgical treatments for OSA are:

• Tracheostomy – In tracheostomy, a hole is made in the lower neck to reach the windpipe. A tube is placed through this to provide an airway.

• Tonsillectomy – Enlargement of tonsils and adenoids causes blockage of air passage. Hence its removal is recommended in OSA treatment.

• Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) – Uvula and soft tissue of the palate are removed in this treatment to rectify airway abnormalities. Similar conditions can however, reappear within 5 years of the surgery.

• Hyoid myotomy -- Muscles of the tongue are pulled forward, away from the hindmost part of the throat to widen airway passage.

• Genioglossus advancement – This procedure is done along with other surgical treatments including hyoid myotomy or Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP).

• Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) – This is an effective treatment for mild and severe OSA. Bones of the upper and lower jaw are cut and replaced frontward for easy air passage.

• Distraction osteogenesis – Young children and toddlers benefit from this treatment.

To treat OSA efficiently, select a plastic surgeon trained and experienced in providing sleep apnea treatments. An AAASF accredited plastic surgery facility is the best place to undergo OAS treatment. Make an extensive search to find quality treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea and enjoy the finest results.

Author's Bio: 

Houston Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery is an established plastic surgery center providing the latest aesthetic and reconstructive surgical procedures. Dr. Sean Boutros and Dr. Jason Hall, together with their highly supportive staff work to give you a pleasant surgical experience and excellent aesthetic results.