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Sleep Apnea and the ENT doctor

December 13, 2017

 

Of all the things we see patients for, one of the most under-diagnosed but most morbid conditions is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

 

Morbidity means it leads to other serious and life-threatening medical problems.  For example, OSA has been linked to high blood pressure, irregular heart beat, heart attack, stroke, and sudden death.

 

More close to home, it can lead to falling asleep at the wheel, being pulled over for the appearance of driving under the influence, and motor vehicle accidents.  Indeed, OSA may preclude one from getting some types of driver's licenses.

 

ENT doctors (aka otolaryngologists) are expert at finding the obstruction, ordering the proper tests, and helping to get adequate treatment.  Indeed, some patients need multiple types of treatment due to the severe nature of OSA.

 

 

In terms of patient "types", one thinks of Mr. Pickwick or someone of a similar body habitus.  But make no mistake, one can be thin, female and/or pediatric and have the diagnosis!  Sometimes, OSA runs in families.

 

Snoring is might be the key symptom, and this brings in many-a-spouse.  However, a morning headache in a mature female is another tip.  For children, sleep apnea is the #1 reason for having the tonsils removed.

 

Now, there is often some trepidation on the part of patients. Common questions include:

 

-Do I need to go to a place overnight? (not always)

-Do I need to wear a machine? (not for everyone)

-What if I change my diet? (depends on the body type!)

-Shall I learn the #didgeridoo (Sure, why not?)

 

In terms of "surgery for sleep apnea", there are courses and textbooks and more written on this topic.  In fact, there are even pacemakers made for OSA!

 

At hudsonENT, Dr. Kortbus and staff can help you navigate this process from diagnosis to treatment.  Call 845-758-1456 today for your evaluation!

 

 

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