What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes brief pauses in breathing during sleep. Each pause can last seconds or even minutes at a time and can partially awaken a person throughout the night, preventing him or her from entering the deepest stages of sleep. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects 18 million Americans, and this number is quickly growing. Over time, sleep apnea can lead to lower blood oxygen levels, problems concentrating, extreme fatigue, and other serious issues, which is why it is important to get tested if you suspect that you or your partner are suffering from sleep apnea.
Doctors and sleep specialists can treat some sleep apnea conditions through lifestyle changes or assisted breathing devices. When conservative treatments are unsuccessful, sleep apnea surgery may be able to help. Dr. Robert Bryan, Dr. Jeremy Goodson, and Dr. Hayden Fuller at Oral Surgery Specialists of Oklahoma can alter the soft palate, change the position of the jaw, or perform other procedures from our office conveniently located in Oklahoma City, OK.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Often a partner or roommate will be the first to notice signs of sleep apnea since many of the symptoms happen during sleep. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Shallow breathing during sleep
- Pauses in breathing during sleep that end with a loud gasping sound when breathing resumes
- Fatigue or extreme tiredness during the day (even after a full night’s rest)
- Impaired alertness and difficulty concentrating
- Irritability or depression
Anyone can have sleep apnea, regardless of age, sex, or ethnicity, but males over the age of 40 tend to be at a higher risk. Certain other factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, excess weight, and family history can also contribute to the risk of this condition.
The effects of sleep apnea can seriously affect your day-to-day life. Regular activities and functions, such as driving, are extremely dangerous in a state of fatigue. If you or your physician think that you may have sleep apnea, you will probably be tested by a sleep specialist for a formal diagnosis.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes, such as weight loss or quitting smoking, before moving on to other therapies. Many patients find that using a CPAP machine helps relieve sleep apnea symptoms. We may recommend sleep apnea surgery when these other treatment options do not provide relief. During any point in your treatment with us, we are happy to discuss your anesthesia and sedation options. We want you to feel comfortable and at ease while you’re in our care.
Sleep apnea surgery alters the shape of the airway to improve airflow during sleep. We achieve this by modifying the tissue in the soft palate, correcting the shape of the nasal passage, or readjusting the position of the jaw. The procedure that is right for you will largely depend on your condition and the type of sleep apnea you have. If you require surgery, we will take detailed 3D images of your face to understand the position of your palate, jaw, and facial structure using state-of-the-art i-CAT™ digital scanning technology.
The Oklahoma City Specialists for Treating Sleep Apnea
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are experts at restoring the balance of the oral and facial structures to improve breathing function. Dr. Bryan, Dr. Goodson, and Dr. Fuller have received extensive training to perform sleep apnea surgeries such as UPPP (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty), orthognathic surgery, and other procedures. To schedule a consultation, contact our office in Oklahoma City, OK. One of our staff members will gladly assist you.