Snoring and sleep apnea can affect the quality of your sleep and may even increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, treatment options offered by ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors can help. Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest Ear Nose and Throat in Chicago, IL helps patients affected by snoring, sleep apnea and other conditions breathe (and sleep) easier.
How can I tell if I need treatment?
Nearly everyone snores at some point, although some of us would rather not admit it. Occasional snoring isn't a problem, particularly if you're sick or a little congested. Snoring only becomes a health issue when it's associated with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes fully or partially blocked while you sleep, causing pauses in your breathing. The blockage can occur if your throat falls back against your throat or if the walls of your throat become so relaxed that they close completely.
Luckily, your body leaps in high alert when it detects that you've stopped breathing and prompts you to take a breath. Gasping or choking isn't the most comfortable way to be woken, but it does restart your breathing very effectively. Other possible signs of sleep apnea include daytime fatigue, depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating, dry mouth, sore throat, weight gain or headaches.
What treatments are available in the Chicago area?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are often used to relieve snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. CPAP machines force a steady flow of air into your throat, preventing the airway from becoming blocked. Although the machines definitely work, your machine is not as helpful if you don't use it because you find it too uncomfortable or loud.
Oral appliance therapy offers another option if you don't like CPAP machines or are looking for a more low-tech option. It is also sometimes used in conjunction with CPAP treatment. The appliance fits over your teeth and keeps your airway open by holding your jaw forward, which prevents your tongue from falling back into your throat. The device is custom-made to fit your mouth, ensuring a comfortable fit while you sleep.
Snoring and sleep apnea treatment can improve your sleep and your health. Call ENT specialist Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest Ear Nose and Throat in Chicago, IL at (312) 988-7777 to schedule your appointment.