Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Did you know that approximately 18 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, there could be a spike, as many cases are undiagnosed. You might be wondering: what exactly is obstructive sleep apnea? Please be sure to read through the article as we navigate this condition hardly known by many.

OSA is when the normal flow of air is frequently stopped throughout your sleep. It causes your chest and diaphragm muscles to overwork as they try to pull air to your lungs. In the process, your breathing becomes low, and it may even stop briefly. You then start breathing again with a loud snort. These periods when you stop breathing are called apnea.

Surprisingly, all these times, you stop breathing briefly in your sleep and you are not aware. You hardly remember any sleep interruptions you encountered during the night.

The condition may worsen and cause some health problems if left untreated. If not monitored, can cause severe morbidity such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • High blood Pressure
  • Heart disease

Looking for a doctor for sleep disorders Los Angeles?

The good thing is that you can prevent such problems from occurring. All you need is to make an appointment with an ENT doctor in Los Angeles. Proper diagnosis is pivotal in preventing complications.

Regular screening is necessary, especially if you snore. You may wonder where to find a specialist that is suitable for the treatment you need. Well, there are a number of them online but be aware of scams. If you are in L.A. our specialists at Westside Head & Neck are here to help.

Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea

There are symptoms that should get you dialing your ENT immediately. Loud snoring is one of the most apparent. However, not all people with sleep apnea snore. Additional signs include:

  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Pause in breathing
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Unusual irritability and moodiness
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequently waking up to urinate
  • Reduced alertness
  • Night sweats
  • Low sex drive

Most of these symptoms are a result of poor sleep and interrupted breathing leading to low oxygen levels. If you have people around when you sleep, they may probably notice you have OSA even before you do. Symptoms vary from one individual to another.

Causes of obstructive sleep apnea

Several factors cause blockage of the airways. The main ones are:

  • Muscular changes. Usually, when you sleep, some muscles keep your airways relaxed. The relaxation ideally should not prevent the airflow, but in this case, it does. It leads to an involuntary pause in breathing.
  • Physical obstructions. Any other tissue or fat around the airways can prevent airflow. If the air tries to pass through, it causes loud snoring.

OSA can affect anyone, including c

  • Your anatomy- the position and size of your jaw, neck, tonsils, and tongue
  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sedative medications
  • Sleeping position, especially on your back
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Conditions like asthma, high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke

Sleep disorders, however innocuous, can lead to life-threatening diseases and cardiovascular complications. Do not wait it out. If you are having sleep disorders, schedule an appointment with a specialist.

Diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea

It isn’t easy to treat OSA without knowing the root cause. That is where visiting a specialist is critical. Once you see a doctor, they will perform a physical examination. They may ask questions about your sleep patterns like, how long does it take you to fall asleep, have you ever been told you snore, among others.

Doctors diagnose OSA by analyzing your sleep patterns. You may need to spend the night in a designated sleep lab or have it done at home. You would put on a monitor to record your airflow, oxygen levels, breathing patterns, heart rhythm, brain waves, legs, and arms movements.

Obstructive sleep apnea treatment

Once the doctor determines the root cause of the condition, he or she can administer treatment. The goal is to ensure your airflow isn’t obstructed. There are several methods, which include:

    • Lifestyle changes

Depending on your case, doctors may recommend a lifestyle change. This form of treatment is common for mild cases. Your doctor may ask you to lose weight, limit alcohol use and stop smoking.

    • Nasal decongestants

Doctors prescribe nasal decongestants for mild cases. They help relieve snoring. However, they should not be used for an extended duration.

    • Therapies

Therapies may include positive airway pressure where a machine fits into your nose and delivers air pressure. There is also a mouthpiece device, which is an alternative for mild cases, but the common one is positive airway pressure. It may improve your quality of life by reducing your sleeplessness.

  • Surgery

This method will be the last result if other treatments do not work. There are surgical options for OSA. These options include tissue removal, upper airway stimulation, jaw surgery, tracheostomy, an opening in the neck, and implants. Other surgeries include nasal surgery and the removal of adenoids.

Sleep apnea specialist Los Angeles

OSA can affect anyone. If you have any signs and symptoms, as stated, it is time you seek services of a specialist. The good thing is that different treatment options will help you get a good night sleep and relief to breathe easier. Let us be your choice for a sleep apnea specialist in Los Angeles at Westside Head & Neck. We examine your sleep history for the best outcome. Board-certified doctors at this facility utilize modern technology to offer lasting results. Call us today!

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Insight into Sleep Disorders & Obstructive Sleep Apnea
45% percent of normal adults snore at least occasionally, and 25% percent are habitual snorers. Males and people who are overweight have a higher percentage of snoring and sleep problems, and their problems usually worsens with age. Snoring may be an indication of obstructed breathing and should not be taken lightly. Our doctors can help you to determine where the anatomic source of your snoring may be, and offer solutions for this noisy, often embarrassing, and possibly dangerous disorder.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is characterized by multiple episodes of
breathing pauses greater than 10 seconds at a time, due to upper airway narrowing or collapse. This results in lower amounts of oxygen in the blood, which causes the heart to work harder. It also causes disruption of the natural sleep cycle, which makes people feel poorly rested despite adequate time in bed. Apnea patients may experience 30 to 300 such events per night.

The immediate effect of sleep apnea is that the snorer must sleep lightly and keep the throat muscles tense in order to keep airflow to the lungs. Because the snorer does not get a good rest, he or she may be sleepy during the day, which impairs job performance and makes him or her a hazardous driver or equipment operator. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of developing heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and many other medical problems.

People who snore may suffer from:Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat: When muscles are too relaxed, the tongue falls backwards into the airway or the throat muscles draw in from the sides into the airway. Some relaxation is natural during deep sleep, but may become a problem if exacerbated by alcohol or drugs that cause sleepiness
  • •Excessive bulkiness of throat tissue: Children with large tonsils and adenoids often snore. Overweight people may have excess soft tissue in the neck that can lead to airway narrowing. Cysts or tumors are rare causes of airway narrowing.
  • •Long soft palate and/or uvula: A long palate narrows the opening from the nose into the throat. The excessive length of the soft palate and/or uvula acts as a noisy flutter valve during relaxed breathing.
  • •Obstructed nasal airways: A stuffy or blocked nose requires extra effort to pull air through it. This creates an exaggerated vacuum in the throat that pulls together the floppy tissues of the throat, and snoring results. So snoring may only occur during the hay fever season or with a cold or sinus infection. Also, deformities of the nose or nasal septum, such as a deviated septum (a deformity of the wall that separates one nostril from the other) can cause such an obstruction.

Why snoring is serious:
Socially – – Snoring can make the snorer an object of ridicule and can cause the bed partner to experience sleepless nights and fatigue.

Medically –- It disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer of adequate rest. It may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can lead to serious, long-term health problems.

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