Written by Dr. Michael Bard
Inspire–that’s right, take a deep breath and feel the air.
Unfortunately, not everyone can do that when they are sleeping. When you fall asleep, the muscles in your throat and jaw relax, which allow your airway to collapse even to the point of stopping the air flowing into the lungs. If this happens, your body will react as if you were being choked; your heart rate would go up, the stress hormones in your body would be released, and you would wake up to some degree to restore the muscle tone, thereby allowing the air to flow back into your lungs again. Health care professionals call this problem Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This can cause serious health problems if it occurs frequently. Is it is associated with the risk of stroke, weight gain, diabetes, and heart attack. It can also cause social and psychological problems associated with the chronic loss of rest: poor work performance, motor vehicle accidents, changes in behavior and personality.
Fortunately, this is a treatable disorder. In order to make the diagnosis, the first thing that needs to get done is an overnight sleep study. This can often be done from the comfort of your own home. Once the diagnosis is made, the treatment is individualized.
Some people will require surgery of the nose or throat. Some people will need to lose weight or avoid certain medications or sleeping positions. When the sleep apnea is severe enough, some people will be treated with a device called CPAP. This stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A mask fits over the nose and or mouth and provides a steady stream of air that acts to open the airway as you breathe in. It is a very effective treatment when used, but not everyone tolerates it.
For those individuals, there is a new procedure which has been developed to help open the airway without the use of CPAP. This procedure is based on many procedures that had been used in the past which showed varying degrees of success. These procedures were formulated to increase the space behind the tongue. Many of these methods were effective but they were also quite invasive, and the scientific data were mixed to their efficacy.
This new procedure, called INSPIRE® sleep device implantation, is essentially replacing these older procedures. A small device is inserted as an outpatient procedure which restores muscle tone to open the airway. It is controlled by the patient with a handheld remote that is placed over the device before sleep. Studies have shown that 79% of patients will have a reduction in sleep apnea events and 94% of patients who have had it are satisfied and would recommend it.
So, do you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea? The symptoms vary and can include daytime fatigue, headaches (especially in the morning), never feeling like you got a good night’s rest, and snoring. Your sleeping partner may tell you that you stop breathing and sound like you are choking.
Look at the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and our Sleep Apnea questionnaire. If you have a score over 6 on the ESS and many ‘yes’ answers checked off, then you should get an evaluation by one of our Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists to help make the diagnosis and treat your OSA.
Advanced Specialty Care’s ENT Specialists offer the full range of services for the evaluation and treatment of OSA: from sleep studies done in your home, to medical and surgical treatment of the airway (if needed), to prescribing CPAP and implantation of the Inspire sleep device. In fact, Advanced Specialty Care are one of the few centers in western Connecticut trained in the Inspire procedure.
So, are you now inspired to take control of your health and sleep? Call us today at (203) 830-4700 or visit ASCDOCS.com to book your appointment with an Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist at Advanced Specialty Care in Danbury, New Milford, Ridgefield or Norwalk, CT.
– Dr. Michael Bard
Michael Bard, MD specializes in Ear, Nose & Throat conditions, Head & Neck Surgery and Thyroid & Parathyroid surgery. Dr. Bard has been practicing at Advanced Specialty Care since 1993 and has received numerous Top Doctor awards and accolades. Dr. Bard sees adult & pediatric patients at Advanced Specialty Care in Danbury & Norwalk, CT.
ADVANCED SPECIALTY CARE
Advanced Specialty Care Ear, Nose & Throat and Head & Neck Specialists are recognized as some of the region’s top ENT Physicians. Call (203) 830-4700 to schedule an appointment with a Specialist at any of our convenient offices in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield, CT.