Interrupting your breathing while you sleep, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause you to wake up from lack of oxygen up to 100 times per hour. By frequently waking you up — usually so briefly that you don’t remember it — sleep apnea disrupts your natural sleep rhythm and can cause you to be tired, hazy and unproductive the next day. Although quite common, sleep apnea can cause serious health problems and must be taken seriously.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea which occurs when the muscles in your upper airway relax while you’re asleep and block the flow of air in and out of the nose and mouth. This usually causes loud snoring and interrupted breathing. Many factors contribute to this kind of sleep apnea — from the most common cause, obesity, to oversized tonsils, alcohol consumption, certain illnesses and nasal obstruction.
Less common than obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea occurs when your brain fails to send signals to your breathing muscles — causing your body to make no effort to breathe for a short period or until you awaken from shortness of breath.
Often overlapping, the common symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping for air during your sleep, insomnia, excessive sleepiness, difficulty paying attention and even irritability during the day. Those with sleep apnea are often told by their partner about episodes where they stopped breathing during the night.
Depending on the type of sleep apnea you have, various treatments can help you sleep soundly once again. For those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, the most common way to start treatment is to make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and cutting down on alcohol consumption.
Wearing a special mask and using a machine that prevents your throat from collapsing (by increasing air pressure to the collapsible segment of the throat) is one of the most effective treatments available. This is known as CPAP, which stands for nasal “continuous positive airway pressure”.
Some people find specially-made mouthguards useful but others may need to consider surgical treatment options for issues such as a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
As one of the causes of sleep apnea, your deviated septum may need to be fixed in order to improve your sleep and lower the severity of your obstructive sleep apnea. A septoplasty, or septal surgery, can be performed to reshape the nasal septum and remove nasal obstructions for better airflow or for better use of other apnea treatment equipment like the CPAP.
If you’re interested in learning more about how a rhinoplasty can help treat your sleep apnea, reach out to the experts today. As a specialist ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon in Australia, Dr Shahidi can diagnose and treat any nasal obstructions to alleviate your symptoms.
To find out more about having a septoplasty or for any other questions, simply book a consultation or fill out our enquiry form today and we’ll be in touch with you as soon as possible. When you choose to see Dr Shahidi at the Centre for Facial and Cosmetic Surgery in Woollahra, you’re making a choice to change your health, sleep and life for the better.