Sleep apnea is one of the most common and potentially serious sleep disorders. It is caused by obstruction of the upper airway. This can lead to snoring and choking noises as you try to breathe. Sleep apnea can reduce the oxygen flow to your brain and body causing significant long-term health consequences.
Sleep apnea is generally caused by the tissue in the back of your throat collapsing due to the muscles relaxing when you fall asleep. If you sleep on your back, gravity can cause the tongue to fall back, narrowing the airway and reducing the amount of air that can reach your lungs. This narrowed airway causes snoring by making the tissue in the back of your throat to vibrate.
Even though you may not be conscious of it, sleep apnea causes you to wake up numerous times throughout the night, causing fatigue during the day, even though you think you had a full night’s sleep.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Depending on the cause of your snoring and presence of sleep apnea, our professionals might utilize a range of treatment plans to help you sleep better at night. Many individuals with sleep apnea find success through using a CPAP machine at night, which opens the airways with a small amount of pressure. In other instances, a custom fit oral appliance might be a better solution, while others opt to undergo a variety of surgical procedures. Our goal is to resolve your snoring or sleep apnea in a way that makes sense for you, so we’ll take the time to discuss all treatment options and answer any questions you might have.
If you are concerned about sleep apnea, please call us to schedule an appointment at West River ENT in Rapid City, SD.