Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

What Causes People to Snore?

Thanks to Dr. Douglas Holmes of ENT and Audiology Associates, patients in Raleigh now have access to an effective and safe alternative to traditional sleep apnea treatments. Snoring and sleep apnea sufferers can now be treated and potentially cured of sleep apnea with a minimally invasive, in-office procedure, called Radiofrequency Ablation of the Tongue Base (RFA).

Until recently, treatment options have been limited to painful and invasive nose and throat surgeries and bulky CPAP and oral appliances which require patients to wear every time they sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a higher risk of life-threatening conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Over the past decade, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has become more well-known due to the associated health risks and deaths associated with untreated sleep apnea. Almost fifty percent of healthy adults snore occasionally, while half of them are habitual snorers. Many times, the problem afflicts individuals who are overweight. If the problem is not treated it typically gets worse with age.

RFA of the Tongue Base is an office based procedure that requires no hospitalization or general anesthesia. Each procedure takes less than 45 minutes while the actual treatment time lasts between 2 to 5 minutes. Most patients are able to drive themselves home or back to work following the procedure. ENT & Audiology Associates of Raleigh uses a proven device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Weak muscles in the throat and/or enlarged tongue base – When muscles are too relaxed the tongue may fall back into the airway and pull in air from the sides of the throat. This can also happen if you are sedated by alcohol or medications.

Excessive throat tissue – Often overweight individuals have bulky neck tissue, which can cause snoring. Children with large tonsils or adenoids may also snore.

Blocked nasal airways – If the nose is blocked, it requires extra effort to pull air through. This creates a larger than normal vacuum and pulls together the floppy tissues in the throat, and the end result is snoring. In some cases snoring only takes place when you are sick with a cold or sinus infection, or during the hayfever season.

Some common causes include:

 

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The obstruction to the free flow of air through the passage at the back of the mouth and nose will cause the annoying sounds of snoring. This area is the collapsible part of the airway where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. When they make contact and vibrate during breathing, snoring will occur.

Our Procedures and Solutions for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

This is a very serious condition and may be fatal if the episodes last over ten seconds and occur more than five times an hour. This can result in reduced blood oxygen levels to the brain, forcing the snorer to wake up briefly many times during the night, resulting in a lighter sleep preventing the snorer enjoying the rest benefits of a deep sleep. Individuals with this disorder may experience heart enlargement and high blood pressure.

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by a pause or slowing of breathing while sleeping. Although a diagnosis of sleep apnea often will be based on an individual’s medical history, there are many tests that can be used to substantiate the diagnosis. The treatment of sleep apnea may be either nonsurgical or may require surgery.

Radiofrequency Ablation of the Tongue Base (RFA)

RFA of the Tongue Base is an office based procedure that requires no hospitalization or general anesthesia. Each procedure takes less than 45 minutes while the actual treatment time lasts between 2 to 5 minutes. Most patients are able to drive themselves home or back to work following the procedure. ENT & Audiology Associates of Raleigh uses a proven device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.