Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing is interrupted periodically throughout the night. These pauses, or gaps, in breathing may be accompanied by choking or gasping but rarely awaken the sleeping individual. It affects millions of Americans; however, many are unaware they have it.

Common sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems including an increased risk of high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

The most popular form of treatment is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device, which is worn nightly to provide a positive flow of air powerful enough to keep your airway passage open. While it’s a very effective treatment for many, others do not respond. In those cases, surgical options like Inspire may be a solution.

What Is Inspire?

Inspire is a surgically implanted device that monitors your breathing patterns while you sleep. It uses mild stimulation to activate the hypoglossal nerve, which controls the movement of your tongue and airway muscles. This helps keep the airways open and reduces sleep apnea symptoms.

The surgery is performed by an ENT as an outpatient procedure, which usually takes a couple of hours. Assuming there are no complications, you are free to go home afterward. Your doctor will likely recommend that you take it easy and avoid any strenuous activity for several weeks after the procedure.

How Effective Is Inspire?

Inspire can be an effective treatment for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. Studies have shown that patients who received the procedure had a 68% reduction in their apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) after one year. The AHI is the number of apneas or hypopneas recorded per hour of sleep.

Talk to Your Doctor

While Inspire is an effective treatment for sleep apnea, it might not work for everyone. Talk with your sleep specialist about all your options for managing your condition so they can work with you to decide what will be the most effective treatment plan.

Getting regular, quality sleep is crucial to our overall physical and mental health. In addition to treating sleep apnea, it’s important to practice proper sleep hygiene to get the best rest possible. This includes:

  • Limiting screen time before bed
  • Avoiding caffeine before bedtime
  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Trying to get some physical activity every day.

For more information about Inspire or other treatments for sleep apnea, call the sleep experts at Carolina Pines Ear, Nose, & Throat today.

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