What Is Sleep Apnea?
Detroit, Michigan – 20% of adults suffer from mild to severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when the soft tissue structures at the back of the mouth and nose relax and the airway becomes narrowed. This area is where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. When these structures touch each other and vibrate it makes the snoring sound. This condition can also be caused by nasal obstructions.
During obstructive sleep apnea inadequate breathing causes a decrease of oxygen in the blood. The brain then triggers the body to wake up and reopen the airway. The awakening is usually too brief to remember, however this can occur between 5 to 40 times per hour. As a result, this is very disruptive to restful sleep patterns.
The obstructive sleep apnea sufferer may have no idea their sleep is being interrupted. They may believe they are sleeping restfully at night and therefore cannot understand why they suffer from the following list of sleep apnea symptoms.
- Extreme daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Loud snoring (not always indicative of sleep apnea)
- Episodes where sufferer stops breathing during sleep (observed by another person)
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Attention problems
Serious complications can arise from obstructive sleep apnea, for example high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or stroke and liver problems. The repeated disturbances in sleep cause daytime drowsiness, not only for the sufferer, but, the loud snoring can cause their bedmates to become sleep deprived as well.
Often nasal surgery can remove or reduce these obstructions thereby opening the nasal passages and allowing more airflow. The following letter is from one of our patients at Michigan Facial Aesthetic Surgeons who suffered from obstructive sleep apnea. Nasal surgery alleviated his symptoms.
“As the process of my nose surgery has diminished to follow up visits, I thought I would take the time to thank Dr. Carron for putting me into the “nose breather’s” club. I have been a mouth breather for over four decades, since my nose injury playing sports as a teenager. The mild case of sleep apnea and constant snoring had become a part of my disrupted sleep pattern and an irritation to my family. Since my surgery in December, my snoring has decreased tremendously (and my wife thanks you for this as well) and I have had only a couple of episodes of apnea. Playing hockey is easier since I can breathe through my nose. My face shield doesn’t fog over nearly as much. Because I am Canadian and most of my friends don’t have medical insurance in Michigan, I cannot recommend you to them for nose corrections. I have several friends who suffer from nasal problems similar to mine and I want you to know that I would whole-heartedly give them your name and clinic if there was a chance that they could see you. Again, thanks for all you have done to improve my quality of life.”
Learn more about Rhinoplasty by Michigan Facial Aesthetic Surgeons.