Do you ever wake up exhausted, despite getting a full night’s sleep?

Many people experience this, and it could be a sign of a common sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This blog post will explain what OSA is, the symptoms to watch for, and how surgery can be a potential treatment option. (Consult with the best ENT specialist in Nashik today)

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

For those who have OSA, their upper airway can partially or totally close while they sleep.. This interferes with breathing, leading to shallow breaths (hypopneas) or brief pauses in breathing (apneas). Repeatedly occurring during the night, these episodes have an impact on both the quality of your sleep and your general health.

Symptoms of OSA:

  • Feeling tired and sleepy during the day
  • Loud snoring
  • Others witnessing you stop breathing or gasp for air while sleeping
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Feeling irritable
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Mood swings

Diagnosing OSA:

If you suspect you have OSA, talk to your doctor. They may recommend:

  • Discussing your medical history and sleep habits: This helps them understand your symptoms and any risk factors.
  • Physical examination: They will check your upper airway for any anatomical features that might contribute to blockage.
  • Sleep study (polysomnography): You spend the night in a sleep lab to monitor your breathing, brain activity, muscle activity, and oxygen levels during sleep. This helps diagnose OSA and measure its severity.

Treatment Options for OSA:

  • Lifestyle changes:Reducing body weight, refraining from using sedatives and alcohol before bed, and giving up smoking can all help with symptoms of OSA.
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): Throughout therapy, an air pressure mask is worn to maintain an open airway by providing a steady stream of air pressure. Despite being useful, some people find it difficult or painful to use.
  • Oral appliances: These custom-made devices fit like a mouthguard and slightly reposition your jaw to improve airway openness during sleep. They can be an alternative for those who struggle with CPAP.

Surgery for OSA:

Surgery is usually considered when other treatments are not effective or well-tolerated. Several procedures can address airway obstruction in OSA. Keep in mind that surgery is not always the best course of action and that you should examine your alternatives with your doctor before deciding to have surgery. Each procedure has its own risks and benefits, and the best choice depends on the specific location and cause of your airway blockage. Here are some common surgical options:

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): This procedure removes excess tissue from the soft palate, uvula, and tonsils to increase airway space.
  • Mandibular advancement devices (MADs): These surgically implanted devices slightly move your lower jaw forward, opening the airway at the back of your throat.
  • Genioglossus advancement: This surgery advances the genioglossus muscle, which helps open the airway by pulling your tongue forward.
  • Nasal surgery: This can treat certain nasal anatomy problems that lead to airway blockage, like larger turbinates or a deviated septum.

Important Considerations for Surgical Treatment:

  • Consult with a qualified and experienced ENT surgeon: They can discuss your surgical options and determine if you’re a good candidate.
  • Have realistic expectations: Surgery doesn’t guarantee a complete cure for OSA, but it can significantly improve your symptoms and sleep quality.
  • Weigh the risks and benefits: Examine all possible risks related to each surgical treatment and compare them to anticipated benefits.
  • Recovery: Surgical procedures typically involve some recovery time and potential discomfort.

Living with OSA can significantly impact your life. Understanding the causes and available treatments (such as surgery) will help you take charge of your sleep health and enhance your general well-being. If you suspect you have OSA, talk to your doctor and explore the most suitable treatment approach for your individual needs. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with an ear nose throat specialist in Nashik if you’re experiencing any worrying ENT symptoms.