Sleep Apnea & How The Pillar Procedure Can Help

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder where breathing sporadically starts and stops. Have you noticed that even after getting a full night’s sleep you wake up still tired? Is your partner constantly complaining about your snoring? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you could have sleep apnea.

There are three main types of sleep apnea.

They are central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea. Let’s review.

  • Central sleep apnea – Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles of the body that controls breathing.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea; it occurs as a result of relaxation of the throat muscles.
  • Complex sleep apnea – Complex sleep apnea is also referred to as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, and is characterized by someone who has both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

It is important that you understand the symptoms of sleep apnea, as treatment can not only help to ease your symptoms, but also prevent problems and further complications.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The symptoms and signs of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea tend to overlap, which can sometimes make it difficult to diagnose the type of sleep apnea present. These are the most common signs and symptoms associated with central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Episodes of breathing cessation while sleeping (to be witnessed by a second party)
  • Loud snoring (snoring tends to be the loudest in obstructive sleep apnea)
  • Abrupt awakenings (these awakenings are often accompanied by shortness of breath, which most likely indicates that central sleep apnea is the culprit)
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty paying attention

Do I Need to Call My Doctor?

Since sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous condition it is therefore imperative that you contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Abruptly awakening and having difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath or difficult catching breath upon awakening
  • Snoring so loud that it wakes you or others in the home
  • Excessive exhaustion during the day, despite your efforts to get a good night’s sleep
  • Intermittent pauses of breathing while sleeping

It is easy to brush off something so seemingly normal, like snoring, as nothing; but sometimes snoring can indicate a potentially life threatening condition, like sleep apnea. You should remember that not everyone who suffers from sleep apnea snores, that is why it is important that you are informed about the symptoms of sleep apnea. Regardless of whether or not snoring is present, if you believe that you are exhibiting symptoms of sleep apnea you should contact your doctor immediately.

If you have noticed excessive drowsiness during the day, despite your every effort to get a good night’s sleep, you could be suffering from sleep apnea. Do not go another day struggling to make it past lunch time, call your doctor today to discuss your symptoms and possible condition.


The Pillar Procedure for Treating Sleep Apnea

Pillar Procedure Animation

The Pillar Procedure is an effective and long lasting solution to sleep apnea. The procedure centers around the soft palate at the roof of your mouth. As mentioned above, the soft palate is often what vibrates in your throat when you are snoring – it is frequently the cause. The Pillar Procedure involves placing a few lengths of small, woven inserts into the soft palate.

The inserts act to give the soft palate a more rigid structure which typically ends up dampening or ceasing snoring at night. Patients rarely notice the inserts except when they wake up refreshed and happy.

If you want to find out more about sleep apnea or the Pillar Procedure, give Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of Houston a call. We can set you up with a consultation to find out more about what sleep apnea is, and how we would go about diagnosing it in you or your loved one. The sooner you can get in and get seen, the sooner you can start having a good night’s sleep.