Sleep Apnea is a disorder that disrupts natural sleeping patterns. Data from the American Sleep Apnea Association reveal that an estimated 22 million Americans are affected, and a high percentage of standard to moderately severe cases go undiagnosed. A sufferer from obstructive sleep apnea will cease breathing for ten seconds or more during the night and then carry on. This will keep happening many times while the person is asleep.
The Brain and Sleep Apnea
Breathing is something no one has to think about doing – it’s an involuntary biological function. However, although the brain is still instructing the body to breathe during sleep, obstructive sleep apnea happens when muscles in the back of the throat have difficulty keeping the airwaves open. A much more severe disorder, but, fortunately, much rarer, is central sleep apnea where the brain forgets to instruct the body to breathe.
Is There Treatment?
The good news is that people afflicted with sleep apnea can be helped. Initially, the condition may be improved by identifying and eliminating any obvious risk factors, such as obesity, smoking and excessive drinking. Also, airways can be assisted to remain open by adopting optimum sleeping positions.
A CPAP Machine is Often the Next Step
If changes to lifestyle do not help, many people end up in sleep clinics and are prescribed machines designed to keep airways open during sleep. The most common types of these devices are CPAPs (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure ) and APAPs (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure). However, this therapy doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s not exactly comfortable or sexy to go to bed wearing a face mask and hooked up to a machine.
Is There an Alternative?
Yes, …………………………………………… specializes in radio frequency ablation (RFA). This is a treatment whereby small doses of heat energy in the form of radio frequencies are aimed at the back of the tongue (a common site of airway obstruction). This prevents the tongue from falling backwards and blocking the airway. This therapy has a long track record of effectiveness and is a viable sleep apnea treatment option. For more information on RFA, please contact us.