Whether you or a loved one wakes up from snoring
, it can cause a strain in your relationship and sleep pattern. By visiting us in Milwaukie, your sleep apnea can be treated by Dr. Adrian Varela. Sleep apnea
occurs when you stop breathing during periods of sleep. The cessation of breathing usually occurs because of a blockage in the airway.
The relaxed muscles at the back of the throat cause the throat to close. This stops breathing, typically from 20 seconds to up to 3 minutes. Most sleep apnea sufferers experience this cycle of snoring, apnea and awakening five or more times a night. This condition has been linked to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and heart disease, making it very important to understand if you have sleep apnea.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when muscles in the back of your throat relax. These muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate, the tonsils and the tongue. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in, and breathing momentarily stops. This may lower the level of oxygen in your blood. Your brain senses this inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief you don’t remember it.
You can awaken with a transient shortness of breath that corrects itself quickly, within one or two deep breaths. You may make a snorting, choking, or gasping sound and this process can repeat itself five to 30 times or more each hour, all night long. These disruptions impair your ability to reach the desired deep, restful phases of sleep, and you’ll probably feel sleepy during your waking hours.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Milwaukie
Some simple techniques for alleviating mild apnea are to sleep on your sides and not your back. Avoid alcohol or sedatives before bedtime. In mild cases, treatment may consist of nasal decongestants, inhaled steroid preparations or oral mouth devices that force the jaw forward to prevent the tongue from falling back and constricting the throat.
More aggressive treatment depends on the diagnosis. An examination will reveal if your snoring is caused by nasal allergy, infection, deformity, or tonsils and adenoids. Snoring or obstructive sleep apnea may respond to various treatments offered by Dr. Varela, our experienced ENT in Milwaukie, OR.
If surgery is too risky or unwanted, you may sleep every night with a nasal mask that delivers air pressure to the throat. In severe cases, surgery may be called for to open the airway, including a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy or deviated septum repair. A sleep study, which can now be done at home, in your own bed, can be done to determine if you have sleep apnea.
If you suffer from debilitating snoring or think you may have sleep apnea, contact us at Northwest ENT & Allergy in Milwaukie for sleep apnea treatment options and to schedule an appointment with Dr. Adrian Varela. Snoring and sleep apnea are not something to ignore. Early treatment is important in protecting your health in the long run.