Of all the sleep disorders, apnea is one of the most serious. Because breathing is stopped, often hundreds of times a night, the side effects of the disorder can be debilitating. Besides persistent sleepiness, apneas can lead to depression, diabetes and even death.
There are several sleep apnea treatment methods available to deal with mild, moderate and severe cases of the disorder. The first step toward a healthier life and a better night of sleep is reading this article for more information about this sleep disorder and how to get treatment.
There currently is no proven sleep medicine for this disorder. However, there are four basic approaches to treatment. Firstly, doctors recommend changing the circumstances which may be causing the apnea. This would include suggesting that the patient lose weight, quit smoking and avoid alcohol and sedative drugs.
The sufferer should also get into a regular sleeping schedule and try to sleep only on their side. The second and most common treatment option is in using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) in the upper airway to support and hold the airway open.
This involves wearing a CPAP mask over the nose. The mask provides a supply of continuously flowing air via a flexible plastic hose from a CPAP machine.
The third option to treat this disorder is the use of a dental splint. One of the reasons for the upper airway to become narrowed at night is because the tongue falls posteriorly. Using a dental splint at night prevents the jaw and tongue from moving back. However, oral devices have not proven to be as effective, as CPAP and the appliances can be uncomfortable.
The fourth and most extreme form of apnea treatment is surgery. This kind of procedure increases the size of the upper airway. It usually involves removal of the part of the soft palate that hangs down in the back of the throat, as well as the tonsils if present, and other soft tissue if it is felt to be excessive. This procedure is usually reserved for patients with severe apnea.
To diagnose which sleep apnea treatment is best for you, your doctor will evaluate the symptoms you’re experiencing and their severity. If you think that treatment is a nuisance that you don’t want to be bothered with, then consider the alternatives.
Apnea can lead to more severe illnesses like depression, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. On the other hand, patients who do undergo treatment report fewer headaches, improved mood, higher energy and improved job performance, as well as a better night of sleep.
There is no one “type” of person who gets this disorder. Men, women and children can all suffer, but the disorder seems to be more common among people who are overweight, over the age of forty, have a large neck size and family history of the sleep problem. What everyone does have in common is the ability to get sleep apnea treatment and live a healthier life.