During normal breathing, air passes through the throat on its way to the lungs. The air travels past the tongue, soft palate, uvula, and tonsils. The soft palate is the back of the roof of the mouth. The uvula is the prominent anatomic structure dangling downward visibly at the back of the mouth (pharynx). When a person is awake, the muscles in the back of the throat tighten to hold these structures in place preventing them from collapsing and/or vibrating in the airway. During sleep, the uvula and soft palate frequently vibrate causing the distinctive sounds of snoring.

Somnoplasty is an unique surgical method for reducing habitual snoring by removing tissues of the uvula and soft palate. Unlike other approaches (such as the laser), somnoplasty uses very low levels of radiofrequency heat energy to create finely controlled localized burn-areas beneath the lining (mucosa) of the soft tissues of the throat. These burn- areas are eventually resorbed by the body, shrinking the tissue volume, opening the passageway for air, and thereby reducing symptoms of snoring. Somnoplasty is performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting and takes approximately 30 minutes.

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What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?

One of the main symptoms of narcolepsy is extreme sleepiness during the day. A person with narcolepsy may also have symptoms when falling asleep or waking up in which they are unable to move their bodies. This is called sleep paralysis and may continue for seconds or minutes. They may also have vivid dreams. One of the most intense symptoms of narcolepsy is called cataplexy. During an attack of cataplexy, the person is awake and alert, but may develop sudden muscle weakness and actually fall down if standing. Cataplexy often occurs at times of strong emotion. Another symptom of narcolepsy is hallucinations (dreaming while falling asleep or waking up). If they occur as you fall asleep, they’re called hypnogogic hallucinations; if they occur as you wake up, they’re called hypnopompic hallucinations. These symptoms can be very upsetting and frightening before they are properly diagnosed.

What causes narcolepsy ?

The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown. We know that in some people genetics may be involved. We know that people with narcolepsy have a problem with the natural rhythm of sleep and waking, and that this rhythm is controlled by brain chemistry. As a result, we know that a chemical imbalance in the brain is at least part of the problem. At this time, the exact problem in brain chemistry has not been worked out.

Snoring is the most common sleep complaint, occurring in about half of middle-aged men, and a third of middle-aged women. While snoring is almost always present in people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), only a small percentage of snorers (perhaps 10%) have OSA. Thus snoring is a “sign” of OSA, but by itself is not diagnostic of OSA.

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Assuming both snoring and OSA are present in someone, treatment of just the snoring does not treat the OSA. Snoring is like the ‘smoke’ of a fire. If you get rid of the smoke the fire can still rage on. However, effective treatment of OSA will usually also improve (or eradicate) the snoring.

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Diagnosis of Narcoplepsy : –

  • Epworth Sleepiness Scale
  • Nocturnal polysomnogram
  • Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT)
  • Spinal fluid analysis

What is the treatment for Narcolepsy ?

As were not exactly sure what causes Narcolepsy, there are a few treatments which have proven to be effective.

Clinical trials have shown that short day time naps can help to reduce the excessive daytime sleepiness. What is also important is that the sufferer of Narcolepsy, has a strict bedtime regime. This is so that the patient gets the recommended daily amount of sleep that is required.

With regards to the drugs which may help, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is helped by taking Amphetamine Stimulants. However, it must be remembered that these types of drugs do have some quite severe side effects which may in some cases cause more suffering and possibly damage than the Narcolepsy itself.

For the patients who suffer from Cataplexy, it has been found that a number of anti-depressant drugs can help to relieve the sufferer. Again, there can be side effects to these drugs.

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