Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person’s breathing stops during their sleep. It is considered a life-threatening disorder that results in frequent drops in blood oxygen levels while you sleep. This can strain your cardiovascular system leading to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even death.

Sleep apnea is frequently associated with daytime sleepiness, snoring, and irritability.

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Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea - a common condition that occurs when the airway partially or completely collapses during sleep.

Central sleep apnea - a less common condition that occurs when muscles that control breathing do not receive the proper signals from the brain resulting in periods of apnea during sleep.

Complex sleep apnea - is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor or give us a call at (318) 443-1684 and ask about getting screened. A sleep study can help confirm the diagnosis and lead to lifesaving treatment.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatments

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by an obstruction of the airway and causes you to stop breathing during your sleep. The physicians at Red River Sleep Center have treated patients with OSA in CENLA for over 25 years. Common treatment options include the following:

For Mild Sleep Apnea

Lifestyle and positional changes. For mild cases of sleep apnea, changes that include weight loss and the cessation of smoking can provide significant benefit. In some cases, avoiding sleeping on your back can greatly improve mild sleep apnea.

For Mild, Moderate and Severe Sleep Apnea

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Utilizes a machine that supplies air pressure through a mask that is placed over your nose while you sleep. This opens up upper airway passages to eliminate snoring and the accompanying stopping and starting of breathing that interrupts sleep.

BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure). This is similar to CPAP but offers more complex settings and higher maximum pressure.

Oral appliances. These are designed to keep your airway open by moving the jaw forward to alleviate snoring and sleep apnea.

Surgery. Surgery can be performed to remove tissue that vibrates causing snoring or to remove blockages that impede breathing. Procedures can include:

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). This procedure removes tissue from the rear of the mouth and the top of the throat. Tonsils and adenoids can also be removed during this procedure. This surgery may be successful in stopping the structures in the throat from vibrating eliminating snoring. However, tissue farther down your throat may still block your air passage.
  • Maxillomandibular advancement. This procedure includes removing upper and lower parts of the jaw to enlarge the space behind the tongue and soft palate moving the jaw forward. This complex procedure can reduce the possibility of an obstruction and may require both an oral surgeon as well as an orthodontist.
  • Tracheostomy. You may need this form of surgery if other treatments have failed and if you have severe sleep apnea. In this procedure, an opening is made in your neck and a tube is inserted through which you breathe. The opening is kept covered during the day but uncovered at night to permit breathing without obstruction.
  • Tonsilectomys, adenoidectomys. These procedures can be performed to remove enlarged tonsils or adenoids and may reduce the snoring that contributes to or causes sleep apnea.
  • Nasal surgery. This surgery is used to remove polyps or to straighten nasal passages (deviated septum). It can help to improve breathing and contribute to the treatment of sleep apnea.

Central and Complex Sleep Apnea Treatments

Existing medical conditions. Management of existing medical conditions such as heart or neuromuscular disorders.

Supplemental oxygen. Supplemental oxygen may help with central sleep apnea in some cases.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). In some cases, central sleep apnea is improved with CPAP alone.

Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP). BiPAP can help respiration rates and ventilation stay within normal limits by using a backup rate and other ancillary settings.

Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV). This is a type of BiPAP that learns your normal breathing pattern and uses adaptive settings to normalize your breathing during sleep. ASV is often effective in treating central sleep apnea when CPAP alone is insufficient.

If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact Red River Sleep Center at 318-443-1684 to request an appointment.