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How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

If you’re experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness or chronic snoring, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. This condition can have serious effects on your overall health and well-being.

Dr. Cecil Yeung is dedicated to treating patients suffering from sleep apnea, starting with an accurate identification of the root cause of the problem in order to deliver effective long-term relief.

In this blog, Houston Otolaryngologist, Dr. Yeung will explain how sleep apnea is treated.

What is sleep apnea?

This serious disorder is characterized by repeated pauses in your breathing as you sleep. Each pause in breathing – which is called an apnea – can occur 30 or more times an hour. This causes a significant disruption to your natural sleep rhythm and can cause you to repeatedly move out of a deep sleep and into lighter sleep.

Due to the constant interruption in breathing, people who have this disorder spend more time in light sleep and less in the deeper, restorative sleep that’s needed in order to feel well-rested. In addition to causing possible dangers with driving and in the workplace, this poor sleep quality can have a serious negative effect on your overall health. If left untreated, the condition can lead to a number of chronic health problems and other risks, including high blood pressure and depression.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Symptoms include:

  • Excessive sleepiness or lack of energy throughout the day, despite spending hours in bed
  • Loud snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Waking up to the sensation of choking or gasping
  • Restless waking or insomnia
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Memory loss
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, depression, and mood swings

How can sleep apnea be treated?

In some cases, symptoms can be improved with simple lifestyle changes that include:

  • Sleeping on your side to prevent blocking the airway
  • Losing weight, which can open up the throat and improve symptoms
  • Stopping smoking, since it can contribute to increased inflammation and fluid retention
  • Avoiding alcohol and sedatives, which can relax the throat and make airway obstruction worse

Non-invasive treatments may also be prescribed, and they include:

  • CPAP and APAP: The most common treatments for moderate to severe versions of the condition are a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine or an Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) device. Both keep your airway open during sleep by utilizing pressurized air that goes into your throat. CPAP delivers a steady stream or air, while APAP senses changes in your breathing and automatically adjusts the air pressure.
  • Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT): These custom-made mouthpieces gently coax the lower jaw forward while stabilizing the tongue, effectively opening up the airway and reducing the chances that your tongue will obstruct it.

In more severe cases that don’t respond well to lifestyle changes and non-invasive treatments, surgery may be the best option. Depending on the exact issue that’s causing your sleep apnea, surgery may involve removing the tonsils, adenoids, or excess tissue at the back of the throat or inside the nose.

Many of these procedures can be performed using new technology and surgical techniques that reduce downtime and start quickly providing relief. These include functional endoscopic sinus surgery, which removes tissue that prevents the normal drainage of mucus through the sinuses, opening up the passages for easier breathing.

Where can I find the best sleep apnea treatment in Houston?

Dr. Yeung is an ear, nose, and throat specialist with more than 20 years of experience and an excellent reputation for the highest level of professionalism and expertise.

In fact, Dr. Yeung pioneered functional endoscopic sinus surgery in Houston and has performed more than 4,000 surgeries with exceptional results. He’s known for his meticulous surgical techniques and technical precision and is well respected among his peers.

If you have sleep apnea, contact the Yeung Institute today. Dr. Yeung will conduct a thorough examination and talk with you about your medical history in order to devise an effective, long-lasting treatment plan.

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