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 (OSA) - a common condition that occurs when the airway partially or completely collapses during sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) - 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.
Treatments for Obstructive Sleep ApneaClick to learn more about
OSA Treatment Options
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). PAP Therapy utilizes a small bedside medical device that blows filtered room air at a pressure through a mask that fits over your nose, or mouth and nose, while you sleep. The air pressure expands and holds the upper airway passages open, eliminating snoring and airway obstruction with results in sleep apnea. PAP therapy often fully resolves even the most severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea.
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.
Treatments for Central and Complex Sleep Apnea
Management of existing medical conditions. In some cases, neurologic (brain), pulmonary (lung), and cardiac (heart) diseases can be managed by a specialist to help treat CSA. Additionally certain medications are known to directly cause CSA, such as opioids.
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 evaluation with a Sleep Specialist, or talk to your doctor about your symptoms and a referral to Red River Sleep Center for a screening assessment.