Sleep medicine deals with issues of sleep in patients. Sleep medicine specialists include neurologists, sleep psychologists, pediatricians, dentists, and otolaryngologists or ENT doctors.
OSA Vs Snoring
Obstructive Sleep Disorder (OSA) is a sleep disorder that occurs due to partial or complete blockage of the airways that lead to fragmented sleep, breathing difficulties and reduction in the patient’s oxygen saturation.
Snoring, in general, is normal but certain symptoms like loud snoring, waking up in between sleep with a dry mouth, or with a choking feeling, fatigue, irritability, etc. are signs of obstructive sleep disorder.
If a patient is suffering from any of these symptoms then he/she is advised to go visit a sleep specialist. Sleep specialists perform certain tests to monitor breathing and other physiological functions while the person is asleep that include a Polysomnography and home sleeping tests that aid in the diagnosis of Sleep apnea. The sleep specialist then recommends the patient to see an ENT doctor and they further decide the course of treatment.
What does an ENT specialist do?
An ENT specialist deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders associated with the head and neck, particularly the nose, ear, and throat, including problems of swallowing speech, hearing, allergies, sinuses, head and neck cancers. They also deal with breathing issues. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a disorder that occurs due to obstructed breathing during sleep, and ENT specialists are trained to deal with this issue.
Treatment of OSA by ENT specialist
To find the source of obstruction, an ENT can perform Drug-induced sleep endoscopy (DISE) along the airway path in patients. When the exact anatomical cause is found, it can be removed by surgery. ENT specialists also treat OSA by prescribing the use of CPAP for adults and oral appliances that relieve airway obstruction.
Once the diagnosis of OSA is in progress, the ENT can carry out polysomnography, either by him/herself or with a team of sleep specialists, after which the further course of treatment is decided.
After finding the cause of obstruction, ENT can perform surgery to remove the blockage:
- Adenoidectomy– a surgery to remove swollen adenoid glands if they are causing blockage
- Tonsillectomy– a surgery to remove tonsils if they are causing obstruction
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPP) – a surgery to remove the uvula and the tissue from the soft palate if it is causing obstruction
- Septoplasty– a surgery on the nasal septum if it is causing an obstruction.
Alternatively, the ENT specialist can also use radiofrequency energy to reduce the size of the enlarged turbinates or enlarged uvula and soft palate. Small pillar implants can also be inserted into the soft palate to treat patients with mild forms of sleep apnea.
ENT specialist deals with a serious sleep disorder – Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA should not be ignored as it can increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke. If one is experiencing any symptoms of OSA, it is advisable to visit the ENT.
To seek help or know more, you can visit the Neurology and Sleep Centre, the 1st sleep centre in the country accredited by the Indian Board of Sleep Medicine at L-23, Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi, Delhi-110016 (INDIA)
Or give a call on +91-11-46070321, +91-9643500270,
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