Laser Treatment for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring, that loud, annoying “rattling” sound, which occurs during sleep can now be treated. Snoring usually occurs due to the partial obstruction of the airway in the back of the throat and the vibration of the soft palate and uvula, causing a restriction of the airflow. Almost 45% of adults snore occaisionally, but 25% snore habitually. Heavy snoring is more common in males and overweight persons and gets worse with advancing age. Women, as they reach the age of about 65, will also begin to snore, and to their chagrin, just as loudly.
An innovative treatment utilizing a breakthrough in laser technology, called Laser Assisted Uvuloplasty LAUP) makes the removal of this excess tissue to enlarge the airspace to facilitate breathing, more accessible and affordable. More than 85% of patients report elimination of snoring while an additional 12% report a markedly reduced level of snoring. It is a routine office procedure,taking about 30 minutes, usually performed under I.V. sedation, in which Dr. Schuman uses the CO2 laser beam to precisely remove the excess flabby palatal tissue. The CO2 laser causes the collagen fibers in the remaining palatal tissue to become more firm and toned, further resisting the aging process.
Snoring is not simply a bad habit that one can be trained to eliminate. Nor should it be “treated” be having the snorer’s partner sleep in a dtfferent room. It is now recognized as a warning sign for a most serious and dangerous physiologic and medical problem called Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), means a cessation of breathing and therefore a deprivation of Oxygen. These “apneac” events range from 10 seconds to several minutes and can occur from a few to several hundred times during the night, causing interruption of the sleep cycle and subsequent noticeable fatigue.
Here are some home remedies you can initially try:
- Try sleeping on your side, rather than your back.
- Raise the head of the bed.
- Avoid tranquilizers, sleeping pills or antihistamines before bed.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages within 3-4 hours of bedtime.
- Avoid heavy meals within 5 hours of bedtime.
- Try to lose some weight and get more exercise.
- If these don’t help, we suggest that you have a thorough examination of the throat, jaws and nasal area to determine the cause of the snoring and the best way to treat it. This condition is potentially dangerous and worthy of consideration for treatment.
If you, or someone you know, complains of daytime sleepiness, early morning headaches, falling asleep while driving or at other inappropriate times or places, and/or personality changes, sleep apnea may be involved. It is definitively diagnosed by means of a sleep study. We fit you with our monitor which you take home and sleep with in your own bed. The next day, we download the data inot our computer and evaluate the results. The lack of oxygen during sleep apnea is a major cause for concern in that it is associated with heart attacks, high blood pressure and strokes.
In conclusion, the LAUP procedure represents an advanced, yet less invasive way to remedy a serious social and often dangerous physiological and medical condition.