5 Signs You Might Need Surgery For Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apneas can be scary and damage your enjoyment of everyday life – how do you know when it’s time to treat it? Sleep apnea is a condition in which while asleep your breathing takes pauses. These can be very short, but in extreme cases they can go on for minutes at a time. Then you’ll “start” back to breathing with a noise or a cough. This can be disruptive for you and anyone within earshot. It also means  you’re more likely to suffer  fatigue, reduced concentration and other side effects associated with getting too little sleep of the right quality. Sleep apnea is treatable with surgery. What are the signs to consider that might suggest you need surgery for your sleep apnea?

Your Family Has a History of Sleep Apnea

If sleep apnea has been running in your family, there is a heightened chance that you will suffer from it too. A number of academic studies have established a clear hereditary link to a much increased chance of sleep apnea. So, if your family has sleep apnea sufferers in it already, there’s an above average chance that you will have sleep apnea at some point, and that you may therefore end up needing surgery for it. The good side of this equation is that if your family members have had sleep apnea, both your family and hopefully your family doctor will have a good understanding of the condition, and how to assess your needs, for surgery or treatment more generally.

Your Tonsils are Enlarged

Swollen tonsils or adenoids are often a sign that sleep apnea surgery will be recommended. When you have swelling like that, it partially blocks your airway. That means that when you sleep, your body finds it harder to breathe. Because of that, you suffer sleep apnea. This is particularly true for children. But it can also be the case for adult patients.

You are Obese

Obesity is a contributing factor to sleep apnea. If you are overweight or obese, you are more likely to have sleep apnea. Typically, when first diagnosed with sleep apnea, a doctor will suggest a number of possible remedies which the patient can try. So, if you are obese, your physician will suggest to you that you lose weight. This is because excess weight and obesity shows partly in the soft tissue around the throat. When you sleep, your whole body becomes more relaxed. That includes this soft tissue and as it relaxes, it is more likely to obstruct the throat, causing the short pauses in breathing which are typical of sleep apnea. So if you can lose weight this may help to reduce your sleep apnea. If you remain obese, it is more likely that later on your doctor will suggest surgery as an alternative way to tackle your sleep apnea.

Your Apnea is Getting Worse

Sleep apnea can cause you more problems over the years and at some stage surgery will feel like an inevitable option. Sleep apnea affects millions of people slowly. Most sufferers, in fact, remain undiagnosed. People think that they are just having a bad night’s sleep or are worried about work and things like that. Once diagnosed, the sleep apnea can stay for years as an inconvenience, but not causing the level of discomfort or health risk in daily life that justifies surgery. At some point, however, if the sleep apnea continues to worse, your doctor may suggest a more conclusive approach to apnea, such as surgery.

Oral Appliances Aren’t Effective For You

There are a number of steps on the road to surgery. For example, many people who have sleep apnea will try an alternative, less obtrusive remedy first. An example is oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is a bit like a mouthguard which you wear only during your sleep. It reduces your sleep apnea by helping to keep your breathing airway unblocked. If you try oral appliances and the sleep apnea is still a problem, it can be a sign that you will be considering a step up in treatment down the road – such as surgery. Sleep apnea can be uncomfortable for you and others close to you. It can also cause you to feel very tired and operate at less than full tilt when you are awake. Fortunately the condition is well understood and very treatable. Surgery is one option and there are some useful indicators which help you decide whether the time has come to talk with your physician about surgery as an option for you.