Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is merely one diagnosis among multiple conditions that make up a general condition that’s termed Sleep Disorder Breathing (SDB). SDB includes snoring, sleep apnea (central and obstructive) as well as the symptoms that result from chronic obstruction of night time breathing patterns. Regardless of the cause, the upper airway is partially or completely blocked and airflow diminishes or even completely stops. This blockage leads to decreased oxygen delivery to the brain. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. While simple snoring is rarely life threatening, it can often be a significant disturbance to the snorer’s partner and have a real impact on the partner’s sleep quality as well as the health of the relationship. Sleep apnea on the other hand, can become life threatening in extreme cases and has multiple, significant manifestations .

Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation resulting from Obstructive Sleep Apnea lead to very serious problems that include:

  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Inability to concentrate, irritability
  • Memory disturbances
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Frequent Headaches
  • Impotence

The first step in treatment begins with the recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. This usually begins with a sleep study. This can take the form of a traditional sleep study in a sleep lab, or via an at home study. It is essential to determine if true obstruction occurs, and if so, at what level in the airway. For those patients diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the gold standard of treatment is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). While CPAP has been shown to be extremely effective in combating airway obstruction, many patients find that they will not tolerate the bulky appliance that fits over the face/nose to provide the continuous airflow. These patients are often left to seek out other options to treat their condition.Dr. Spanganberg has been well trained and has the ability to determine the level of obstruction and what therapy, or combination of therapies, will be best.

There are numerous treatment options available. It is important to remember that rarely will one treatment modality be successful; treatment is based on the patient’s specific condition and will often require a combination of therapies. These include:

  • An oral sleep appliance
  • Palatal implants– designed to stiffen the palate
  • Uvulo-palato-pharyngo-plasty (UPPP)- which is performed to shorten the length of the soft palate
  • Genioplasty (chin advancement)- This can advance the muscles that hold the base of the tongue in position
  • Septoplasty– correction of a deviated nasal septum
  • Turbinoplasty– reduction of the turbinates (nasal bones) which serves to increase nasal airflow
  • Removal of the tonsils and adenoids
  • Reduction of the tongue size
  • Advancement of the upper and lower jaws (orthognathic surgery)– this serves to increase the overall size of the airway

For more information about sleep apnea treatment or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Porter and Dr. Mack, call our Gilbert office at ☎ or our Yuma office at ☎ .