Has counting sheep or sawing logs at night taken a toll on your daytime productivity? Don’t wait to seek treatment, as either of these can affect your overall quality of life or, worse, point to a potentially serious medical condition.
It is in your best interest to consult a sleep medicine doctor, ideally an otolaryngologist (ears, nose, and throat/ENT doctor). Outlined below are a few of the conditions that sleep medicine doctors see patients for to help you get a basic understanding of how you could benefit from their expertise.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops, causing you to wake up gasping for air.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type, and it occurs when your throat muscles – which normally support the soft palate, tonsils, tissue hanging from your soft palate (uvula), and sidewall of your throat and tongue – abnormally relax, causing your airways to narrow or close.
OSA can lead to problems that extend beyond daytime drowsiness and fatigue: it is a major risk factor for stroke, heart failure, and other potentially life-threatening conditions.
If, after a thorough assessment, your sleep medicine specialist confirms that you have sleep apnea, they may recommend any of the following treatments:
- Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) – The device delivers air pressure via a mask to keep your airways open as you sleep.
- Bilevel positive air pressure (BiPAP) – This is similar to CPAP, but the difference is that a BPAP device has two-pressure settings that allow for lower pressure levels when you exhale.
- Oral appliances – These help bring your jaw forward, thereby keeping your throat open.
- Surgery – Your doctor may recommend this type of intervention if you cannot tolerate any of the treatments mentioned above or if there is significant airway blockage for which conservative treatment may not be effective.
While commonly associated with OSA, snoring can have other potential causes, such as allergies, alcohol consumption, nasal congestion due to a deviated septum, to name a few.
If snoring has become persistent or habitual, proper intervention is recommended to prevent it from causing health or quality-of-life issues.
Depending on the underlying cause of your snoring, your sleep medicine specialist can recommend lifestyle modifications, nasal strips, allergy medications, or any of the treatments used for sleep apnea (e.g., CPAP, surgery, etc.).
Other Conditions Treated by a Sleep Medicine Specialist
People with the following disorders also benefit from seeing a sleep medicine specialist:
- Insomnia – difficulty to either fall asleep or sleep through the night
- Narcolepsy – sleep disorder characterized by extreme sleepiness during the day
- Parasomnia – a disruptive sleep disorder manifested by abnormal behaviors or movements prior to falling asleep, during sleep, or upon waking up
Sleep Medicine Doctor Near Me in Georgetown, TX
Here at Georgetown ENT, Dr. Scott Franklin, our board-certified otolaryngologist and sleep medicine expert, provides an extensive range of services, which are all geared toward helping people breathe, sleep, and live better.
As part of our commitment to providing comprehensive care, we have an on-site, fully accredited sleep lab, Sleep Center at Georgetown ENT, which allows for a timely and efficient evaluation and diagnosis.