If you suffer from sleep apnea in Mechanicsburg, you are well aware of the health dangers this sleep disorder poses. While CPAP therapy is considered the “gold standard” treatment, a lot of people find sleeping with a mask on challenging. In some cases, sinus surgery proves to be an effective alternative solution.
The Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by breathing interruptions during sleep. The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when tissue in the back of the throat relaxes during sleep, blocking the airway. This leads to chronic snoring, frequent gasping or choking, and reduced oxygen levels. These breathing interruptions can occur hundreds of times a night, robbing you of quality sleep. Daytime fatigue is common; patients experience memory and concentration problems, stress, irritability and have an increased risk of accidents. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. An international study conducted in 2018 found that sleep apnea is a global health issue that affects close to one billion people worldwide.
Symptoms of OSA include:
- Chronic loud snoring
- Restless sleep
- Waking up gasping or choking
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Morning headache
- Daytime fatigue
- Loss of libido
Treating Sleep Apnea
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the go-to treatment for a majority of sleep apnea patients. It requires you to wear a mask attached to a portable machine that delivers light bursts of air throughout the night that help keep your airway open. Unfortunately, the setup is intrusive, and many patients find they can’t tolerate the mask, tubing or noise from the machine.
Recent studies show that sinus surgery may be an effective option for some individuals with sleep apnea in Mechanicsburg – specifically, those whose problems originate in the nose or sinuses.
Inflammation in the sinuses can cause blockages such as polyps or cysts that interfere with breathing. Because sleep apnea is the result of obstructed airflow, in certain instances sinus surgery will result in an immediate improvement in symptoms.
There are a few common types of sinus surgery your Mechanicsburg ENT doctor might recommend. The exact procedure depends on your symptoms. You might be a candidate for procedures such as:
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). Your surgeon will use a flexible tube mounted with a camera to remove blockages in the sinuses.
- Caldwell-Luc surgery. Less common and more invasive; this procedure involves removing larger growths in the nasal passages.
It’s important to remember that not all cases of sleep apnea occur due to sinus blockages, so a surgical procedure might not be the right option for you. But it’s certainly worth having a talk with your Mechanicsburg ear, nose and throat specialist if you are suffering from sleep apnea. Sometimes, surgery is performed in conjunction with other treatments to bring relief. Other solutions that might work include medications, nasal strips, oral appliances or even making small adjustments such as elevating your head during sleep to improve breathing.