Sleep apnea can significantly disrupt a person’s daily life. Treatment of this sleep disorder is of particular importance not only because of its potential impact on health but also because it can be fatal. Luckily there are many treatments available. Most of these seek to eliminate problematic symptoms to allow a person to sleep soundly and breath fully throughout the night.
Different treatments are available sleep apnea cases of varied severity. Most case require lifestyle changes while some might require surgery. The success of many treatments depends on how committed the patient is to making positive changes.
Following is a brief overview of common sleep apnea treatments.
1. Modifying lifestyle. Making changes in you lifestyle should be your first treatment method. Many times sleep apnea can be entirely eliminated by simply getting into better shape. Being overweight is one of the primary causes of this health problem and a number of other sleep disorders. Additional lifestyle choices the influence the severity of sleep apnea are drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, taking sedatives, or smoking.
Smoking and drinking should be avoided in most cases. Smoking tends to increase inflammation and congestion. Alcohol is a depressant and causes muscles to relax. Sometimes this adds to already over-relaxed throat muscles, which makes it difficult to breathe at night. Sleeping position can also increase or decrease symptoms. Try sleeping on the side instead of on the back.
2. Other conditions. Sleep apnea can be the result of other medical conditions or even treatments of these conditions. If you discover your sleep disorder is the result of other conditions, then effectively treating these conditions may solve your problem.
3. Treatment devices. There are a host of different breathing aids that can reduce or eliminate symptoms of sleep apnea. The most commonly used is the Continuous Positive Air Pressure. CPAP makes use of a face mask that sends a continuous supply of air to the mouth and nose. This increase in pressure is enough to keep the airway from closing during sleep. Other treatments include By-level Positive Air Pressure or Adaptive Servo-Ventilation.
The face mask worn with these methods must be worn every night. It doesn’t actually eliminate sleep apnea, but it does eliminate symptoms and allow comfortable sleep and breathing throughout the night.
4. Getting surgery. Sometimes surgery is an appropriate treatment. For extreme cases of sleep apnea, surgery is often the most sensible choice. If the cause of the disorder can be pinpointed then surgery can often be used to eliminate the cause and thus eliminate symptoms. This usually offers a permanent removal of symptoms when used.
Surgery can be used to remove enlarged tonsils or remedy a malformed soft palate that might make breathing difficult. Other times excess tissue in the mouth or throat area is removed to make breathing easier. Surgery is an expensive and risky option. It should only be used in certain cases after other potential avenues have been explored.
For most sufferers of sleep apnea, effective treatment depends on personal commitment. Aside from surgery, results will only be had if the patient make a commitment to make necessary changes. Whether this is through losing weight or giving up smoking, success remains on personal commitment. Even using a CPAP machine effectively requires forming the habit of wearing the mask night after night.
The prospect of being healthy and no longer suffering from sleepless nights should be motivator enough. It is reassuring to know that most cases can be cured without having to resort to surgery. If you have sleep apnea, then talk to your doctor about which treatment is most appropriate for your particular case.