Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can be treated through oral appliance therapy as well as CPAP machines. Both forms of treatment have been proven successful, which is why they are both highly recommended. However, both methods are also quite different, which is why it is necessary to be aware of how both work. Oral…
Help for Choosing a Sleep Apnea Treatment
Dealing with sleep apnea may seem like more of a problem for others around and not the person who has the condition. With snoring being the leading symptom, many people complain that they are unable to get a good night’s sleep with a partner with this condition. However, apnea can be a dangerous condition, and if left undiagnosed and untreated it can lead to severe complications, including premature death. Learn more about apnea and some of the treatment options available.
Sleep apnea is not just about snoring
Snoring is a symptom caused by the stoppage of breathing brought about by a blockage in the airway. Obstructive apnea, the most common variation, is a condition that causes multiple pauses in breathing throughout the night. These pauses can last up to 10 seconds before the body resumes breathing. The National Sleep Foundation says that this cycle frequently repeats throughout the night and results in oxygen deprivation to the body. When the brain is repeatedly deprived of oxygen and sound sleep, things like heart disease, mood disorders and memory issues may result.
Treating the sleeping condition of apnea
People may visit their doctor in search of relief from the snoring. It is at this visit that the doctor may suggest a sleep study to confirm that obstructive apnea is behind it. Once this diagnosis is confirmed, a treatment plan is created. There are three main ways doctors suggest helping those with apnea.
One of the first options doctors suggest to treat apnea is making lifestyle changes. Obesity is a leading cause of apnea, and as such, losing weight may help resolve the issue over time. Ironically, the apnea may be a contributing factor to obesity. A healthier diet and better rest can benefit the body all around. Incorporating exercise into the plan may not only help the patient lose weight but also help them sleep sounder.
One option doctors can suggest when treating apnea is airway management devices. The most popular mechanism to do this is a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP for short. The patient wears a mask that delivers a constant and swift flow of air through the nose. The pressure created by this flow forces the airway to remain open and unblocked, thus allowing a continuous intake of oxygen throughout the night.
Sometimes, apnea can be related to a problem with excess tissue or a protrusion that causes the airway to be smaller than normal. Surgery may be recommended in situations where other treatments are not working. Doctors may choose to either remove excess tissue that is lining the airway if that seems to be the culprit. Other times, removal of the tonsils and adenoids is the more appropriate solution.
Sleep apnea is not something to be tolerated. The snoring may only be annoying, but the underlying cause and effects of it can do harm to the body. Making an appointment with a doctor to talk about diagnosis and possible treatment options for apnea can be the first step to finding relief.
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