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Dreaming of Better Sleep? Your Royal Oak ENT Specialist Holds the Key to OSA Relief

I know the feeling… You’re dragging yourself through the day, trying to keep your eyes open – and your mind awake – but your body won’t let you.  

You don’t know why you feel so tired. I mean, you got your 8 hours of sleep, and you don’t remember waking up throughout the night, yet you feel like you haven’t slept in days – how could this be? 

In search of an answer, you schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor, and they chalk your drowsiness up to stress and anxiety – but you’re not stressed, or anxious. You know it’s something more than that, so you keep searching. 

That’s when you remember hearing your partner complain about how loud of a snorer you are, and how you frequently stop breathing in your sleep. It gets you thinking – could that have something to do with your drowsiness? 

So, you schedule an appointment with your Royal Oak ENT doctor, and bingo – you figured it out!

It was obstructive sleep apnea. 

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA for short, is one of the most common sleep-related breathing disorders in the world – affecting nearly 40 million Americans and one billion people globally. Unfortunately, most people living with OSA have no idea they even have it. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): What Is It? 

When we fall asleep, the muscles in our throat, soft palate, and tongue start to relax. For some people, these muscles relax a little too much, resulting in a complete or partial collapse of the airways. 

That’s what happens with obstructive sleep apnea. 

The blockage prevents air from reaching the lungs, which causes blood oxygen levels to drop. The brain – monitoring the situation – steps in and wakes us up, allowing us to find our breath again. 

It doesn’t sound that bad, but patients with OSA experience this series of events several dozen to several hundred times per night – yes, you read that right, per night! 

That’s why most people with OSA struggle with daytime drowsiness – they’re waking up 100-200 times per night. To make matters worse, most people don’t even remember waking up because they fall right back asleep – which is why most cases go unnoticed or untreated. 

It’s a sad, harsh reality – but don’t worry. The Rontal Clinic is committed to helping the Royal Oak community detect, diagnose, and treat obstructive sleep apnea – so you can sleep happily again!

Here are some of the things we can do for you…

Lifestyle Changes: Making the Right Choices, Adopting the Right Habits

The first step in any treatment plan is helping the patient make the right lifestyle changes to prevent their condition (or its symptoms) from worsening. For example, your ENT doctor might ask you to sleep on your side (as opposed to your back or stomach) to help keep your airways open. 

Here are some of the other lifestyle changes you can make to improve your OSA symptoms: 

  • Engage in regular physical activity and exercise often
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced, and nutritious diet daily
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake, especially at night
  • Avoid tobacco products of any kind
  • Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise
  • Try going to bed and waking up at the same time daily

Your doctor might also ask you to change your sleep environment – such as maintaining a temperature of 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit, reducing noise, avoiding screen use before bed, and turning off nearby lights. 

CPAP Machines: When Lifestyle Changes Aren’t Enough

Lifestyle changes are an essential aspect of treating OSA, but they aren’t always enough to clear the airways and prevent future blockage. Not only that, but it takes time to see the results of those changes.

Enter the CPAP machine.

CPAP machines won’t solve the root of the problem, but they do provide immediate improvement in sleep patterns by keeping your airways open throughout the night. 

The machine generates a fixed air pressure that travels through a tube into a face mask – which the patient wears to create a seal around their mouth and nose. The air prevents the airways from collapsing, allowing the patient to sleep uninterrupted. 

Getting used to the face mask is one of the biggest challenges with CPAP (which stands for continuous positive airway pressure) treatment, but a strong majority of those who use one report no issues with it.

Plus, there are several different types of CPAP machines (nasal masks, nasal pillows, full face masks) that can help provide a little more comfort during treatment. Don’t worry – your ENT doctor will help you review your options to ensure treatment is tailored to your needs. 

OSA Surgery: When CPAP Machines Aren’t Enough

Not all cases of obstructive sleep apnea can be cured with a CPAP machine. Some that are more severe or complex may require surgery – though the type of surgery depends on the root cause of OSA. 

And there are a lot of potential causes of OSA…

A deviated septum, sinus issues, enlarged turbinates, narrowing of the throat, tonsil obstruction, excess tissue in certain areas of the mouth and throat, a high-arch hard plate – the list goes on! 

Here at The Rontal Clinic, our goal is to find the root cause of your condition – that way, we can determine the best treatment plan and the best course of action moving forward. 

Whether that means hooking you up to a CPAP machine or having you undergo a septoplasty or turbinate reduction – our experts are here for you!

The Rontal Clinic: Your Dreams Just Got a Whole Lot Dreamier!

Is loud snoring keeping you up at night? Do you suddenly stop breathing while sleeping? Are you waking up often in the middle of the night? Do you make choking or gasping sounds while you sleep? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions – either about you or your loved one – you might have OSA. 

Don’t worry – OSA is a highly treatable condition, and treatment is often considered a game-changer for most patients. If you or someone you know is struggling with OSA or symptoms related to it, don’t hesitate to contact our Royal Oak office and book an appointment with one of our trusted otolaryngologists!