Apnea is derived from the Greek word for “breathless.” Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the individual to stop breathing while they sleep due to a blockage of the airway or the brain incorrectly controlling breathing. At Faces Fort Worth, we help diagnose your sleep apnea and may refer you to a sleep specialist to improve your sleep quality.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea affects all ages but is more common among adults. Some of the most common symptoms in adults include:
- Loud snoring
- Sleep partner informs you that you stop breathing in your sleep
- Waking abruptly and are short of breath
- Sometimes wake up choking and gasping
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- May wake up with a headache
- Struggling with attentiveness while awake
- Feeling consistently irritable
- Struggling with daytime sleepiness
You are at higher risk of sleep apnea if you struggle with obesity, asthma, or congestive heart failure.
In children, sleep apnea may be similar to symptoms of ADHD, such as difficulty learning, short attention span, and poor performance in school. Common sleep symptoms in children include:
- Mouth breathing
- Breathing pauses during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness
The only way to know if you have sleep apnea is to see a doctor to test for sleep apnea. Some tests include reviewing your symptoms, a physical examination, a CT scan, an MRI, and x-rays to determine the cause of your sleep apnea. After diagnosis, the doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist to determine the best course of treatment.
Should I Receive Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
Mild sleep apnea (5-15 events per hour) might not require treatment. We recommend receiving treatment if you struggle with episodes 15 times per hour or more. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, its cause, and your goals, Dr. Sonneveld will help you navigate the best treatment plan to improve your sleep and restore your health.
The first step of treatment typically is a CPAP. 50% of patients, however, are unable to tolerate CPAPs long-term as a result of discomfort, sores, or irritation from the mask. In these cases, surgery may be the best course of action.
UPPP and LAUPP are surgeries where the doctor forms incisions in the back of the soft palate. They remove the excess soft tissue causing sleep apnea and close the incision. LAUPP uses a laser and a radiofrequency probe to tighten the soft palate.
In rare cases where the treatments above are unsuccessful, you may receive maxillomandibular advancement surgery. Commonly known as corrective jaw surgery, the surgery repositions the upper and lower jaw to correct the obstruction of the airways.
Take the Next Step
If you have further questions about sleep apnea, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at Faces Fort Worth. Call us at (817) 927-1818 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to taking care of you.