Stop Snoring With a Sleep Apnea Device

Stop Snoring With a Sleep Apnea Device

by Kassandra Silva (SU)

Many people like to joke about snoring. But snoring is no laughing matter. Nighttime snoring disrupts more than your household. It may be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder impacting the health and well-being of about 12 million Americans. If you or a loved one is concerned about your snoring, you should look at having a sleep evaluation performed, and find out if a sleep apnea device might help.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat vibrate with the passage of air as you breathe. A variety of factors cause people to snore, and many of them are not serious. Perhaps the person has a cold or allergies, sleeps on their back, or has a bedroom with very dry air. All of these can lead to snoring.

However, other people may snore as a symptom of something else--obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. Loud snoring is in fact a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea literally causes you to momentarily stop breathing while you sleep. Typically, this happens several times during the night, causing dangerous physiological effects.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the supporting muscles of the soft tissues in your throat, such as your tongue, temporarily relax. When this happens, your airway becomes narrowed, and breathing is stopped momentarily. This can occur more than 50 times an hour causing the person to wake constantly without even realizing it. Over time, untreated OSA sufferers feel extreme tiredness and fatigue and can become depressed and anxious. Concentration and memory problems are also common in those with untreated sleep apnea. Additionally, sleep apnea can contribute to:

●     Hypertension

●     Type-2 diabetes

●     Erectile dysfunction

●     Obesity

●     Stroke

●     Headaches

Diagnosing and Treating Snoring in Austin, TX

Fortunately, the ENT doctors at CAPOTO in Austin, TX, have specialized training in sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Typically, they recommend an overnight sleep study which measures vital signs, snoring and patterns of apnea, or oxygen deprivation. With a correct diagnosis in place, our doctors can determine a treatment plan to manage symptoms and eliminate snoring.

Besides at-home modifications, such as losing weight and using a side-lying sleep position, your doctor may advise use of one of two common treatment modalities.

One is the CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure therapy. This bedside appliance delivers a steady stream of air through a facial mask worn over the nose and mouth throughout the night. The air keeps the back of the throat open, so the wearer breathes continuously and stops snoring.

Another popular treatment is the oral sleep apnea device--also called the mandibular advancement device. This customized acrylic device resembles an athletic mouthguard. It effectively moves the lower jaw forward, keeping the airway open and functional. Potential side effects of oral appliance therapy include shifting of dental bite and TMJ, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction, the painfully poor operation of the jaw joints. 

Sometimes, people use a combination of oral appliance therapy and CPAP, particularly if they travel frequently, dislike the noise associated with the bedside machine or experience feelings of claustrophobia from the CPAP mask. The good news for CPAP wearers is that choices for quieter and smaller, less intrusive masks and machines now exist, and together, you and your ENT doctor will determine the right treatment and lifestyle modifications best for you.

Sleep Apnea Treatments In Austin, TX, Can Work Well

At Snoring Austin, a division of Capital Otolaryngology, our board-certified ENT physicians Dr. Zachary Wassmuth, Dr. Latif Dharamsi and Dr. Raymond Brown help scores of patients get the restful sleep they deserve, improving their health and their interpersonal relationships, too. 

For more information on sleep apnea, snoring and sleep apnea devices, please contact one of our two locations for a convenient and informative consultation. In Austin, phone (512) 339-4040, or in Lakeway, TX, call (512) 682-4798. Or, request your appointment online through our homepage.