Sleep Apnea Specialist

Terry Baker, MD

Otolaryngology located in Idaho Falls, ID

Chronic, disruptive snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea, a debilitating condition in which you repeatedly wake up during the night due to blockages in your airway. At Terry Baker, MD, the team helps men and women suffering from the symptoms of sleep apnea find relief and achieve a healthy, complete sleep cycle regularly. Call the office located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to have your sleep issues evaluated and sleep apnea treated.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What causes snoring?

Snoring occurs when the muscles at the back of your mouth, tongue, and throat relax as you sleep. They knock against the back of your throat and cause the vibration that leads to snoring. You may have an occasional bout of heavy snoring due to blocked nasal passages during a cold or sinus infection.

Snoring may also be chronic if you have swollen adenoids or a deviated septum. Overconsumption of alcohol or some medications can also cause your muscles to overrelax and lead to snoring.

In many cases, snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

With sleep apnea, the relaxed muscles at the back of your throat cause your throat to close entirely. This halts your breathing for 20 seconds up to three minutes. You awaken when your brain notices the lack of oxygen. You may not notice these awakenings that can happen dozens of times per night.

Gone untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a number of health problems. These include:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes
  • Sexual dysfunction

Excessive daytime sleepiness can also lead to mistakes at work and car accidents. Your relationship may suffer as your partner is sleep deprived due to your snoring.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Snoring is just one possible symptom of sleep apnea. Other indications that you may have this condition include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Irritabiliq1ty and trouble focusing
  • Gasping for air during sleep

Your partner may notice episodes during which you stop breathing during the night, too.

How is sleep apnea treated?

If you have mild sleep apnea, lifestyle techniques such as changing your sleep position to sleep on your side and avoiding alcohol before bed can help. Dr. Baker may recommend nasal decongestants, inhaled steroids, or oral mouth devices to prevent the overrelaxation of the throat muscles and tongue.

In more serious cases, Dr. Baker may recommend a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help keep your airway open. Depending on the cause of your sleep apnea, he may also recommend surgery to open the airway. Surgeries that can be effective include adenoidectomies, deviated septum repair, and tonsillectomies.

If you suffer from debilitating snoring or think you may have sleep apnea, please contact the office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Terry Baker.

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