November 2011
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Two days ago my son had a recurring fever so we brought him to a clinic for check up. The doctor says he had tonsillitis.  The doctor also told me that my son’s tonsil is bigger than its normal size, and that’s explain why my son snores too much. The doctor said if his condition get worst he may suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea? OSA is caused by a physical obstruction in a person’s air passages. These obstructions block the air passages causing a person to make noises known commonly as a snore. Pauses may occur in the snoring. Choking or gasping may follow the pauses.

What causes obstructive sleep apnea? 

In the nasal area, blockage could be caused by a stuffy nose or having a deviated septum. This is a misalignment of the cartilage that separates your left and right nostril. Any other abnormality in the nasal area causing narrow airways could lead to OSA.

In the throat and mouth area, blockage can be due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids. It narrows the air passages especially when our head is laid back while asleep. It drops down at the back of the throat and blocks that air passages causing the person to lose oxygen. The soft palate or the tissue at the roof of our mouth is the number one culprit in blocking the airways. This is the part that is most often removed in sleep apnea surgery.

The treatment for obstructive sleep apnea

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure machines are very common recommendations for obstructive sleep apnea treatment. These require wearing a mask that is connected to a sleep apnea machine that supplies positive air pressure during sleep helping to keep the airways open. Oral devices like mouthpieces that correctly position the tongue or jaw to prevent airway blockage can also be prescribed by your doctor.

In some cases, surgery can be performed for moresevere sleep apnea cases. Removing excess tissues at the back of the throat, lifting the back of the tongue, correcting abnormal facial structures, repairing nose and sinus passages, inserting small polyester rods into the soft palate to help make it more firm and reduce vibrations, and performing a tracheotomy or windpipe opening are some of the surgical procedures used to treat obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.



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