|Sleep Better, Feel Better! New Sleep Apnea Clinic Offers Alternatives
November 12, 2008
Washington, D.C., November 12, 2008 - Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing stops or gets very shallow while asleep. Left untreated, OSA can lead to chronic daytime fatigue, sleepiness and increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Now, two physicians at Washington Hospital Center are offering treatment other than the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy
for the thousands of people in the area suffering from OSA.
Otolaryngologist Stanley Chia, MD, and Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon Ziad Ali, MD, DMD, have opened the Sleep Apnea and Snoring Clinic at the Hospital Center. It is the area’s only combined otolaryngology and oral surgery facility. The two specialists provide all available treatment options, non-invasive as well as invasive, which can cure or substantially diminish OSA.
“There are so many people out there who are unaware they have sleep apnea,” said Dr. Ali. “They seldom get a good night’s sleep because they stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times each night. It’s a serious condition that requires medical attention.”
Excessive daytime sleepiness and loud snoring are the most common symptoms. Most of the patients are referred to the clinic by a sleep specialist, pulmonologist, neurologist or a primary care physician.
“All potential individuals are carefully evaluated and once OSA is confirmed, Dr. Ali and I meet with patients together and create treatment plans that are tailored to each patient’s situation,” said Dr. Chia.
Treatments vary depending upon the severity of the sleep apnea. One option is an oral device much like a mouth guard that pushes the muscles in the jaw forward, opening the airway. Surgery is another option if CPAP or the oral appliance is not appropriate. It may involve removal of enlarged tonsils or excess tissue at the back of the throat (uvula, palate and tongue) or inside the nose. Or it can involve reduction in the size of soft tissue, reconstruction of the bones of the chin and jaws (both upper and lower), or some combination of both.
“Sometimes only one of us performs the surgery, depending on the cause of the apnea,” said Dr. Chia. “However, often there is more than one area of obstruction, so Dr. Ali and I perform our procedures together. The greatest benefit of our clinic is that patients can learn about all of the treatment options in a single office visit.”
“Sleep apnea is very under-diagnosed. We want to do all we can to raise awareness and help people who are suffering,” added Dr. Ali.
So Young Pak