According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, about 75 million Americans suffer from chronic snoring, and among those, some 59 million experience obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Apnea literally means to “stop breathing,” so OSA is a serious condition that causes the sufferer to cease breathing momentarily but repeatedly throughout the sleep experience. OSA can also lead to heart problems, hypertension and even stroke, so it’s a serious condition.
OSA ranges from mild to severe, and the persons most at risk — with moderate to severe cases of OSA — number some 15 million. That’s a lot of people whose nighttimes are being ruined by OSA and who thus suffer fatigue and lack of mental focus each and every day of their lives.
Commonly, OSA sufferers will be fitted with CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure) devices, which are literally just masks connected to an air pump and worn at night. Air is forced through the mouth and nose while the sufferer is sleeping. This substitute airflow most often helps compensate from the OSA sufferer’s natural breathing cessations, but it doesn’t work for everyone — and many find it unbearable to sleep with a mask on.
What are the alternatives?
Again, the alternatives range from the fairly simple involving only in-house procedures to the more drastic involving surgery under the knife, which obviously most people want to avoid.
One simple in-office treatment is the Pillar Procedure. Though certainly not a cure-all for OSA, this procedure has been proven effective in many cases, especially for mild to moderate OSA. So what is the Pillar Procedure?
During this procedure, a doctor places three tiny woven implants into the soft palate using a sterile delivery tool. Over time, the implants, together with the body’s natural fibrotic response, add structural support to stiffen the soft palate and reduce the tissue vibration that can cause snoring.
Again, this procedure is done in-office quickly and painlessly and recovery is rapid. Usually, it’s back to normal the next day, perhaps aided by over-the-counter pain supplements that people routinely take for other discomforts.
If your snoring originates in the soft palate, the Pillar Procedure is a great option, but if you have problems in other parts of your throat or in your nose, then further treatments may be indicated.
If you suspect OSA or any other sleep disorder, you need to schedule an appointment with a sleep professional for a diagnosis. Don’t let poor sleep result in even poorer daytime experiences. Call today.