How Can you Treat Sleep Apnea?

sleep apnea problems

Sleep Apnea is a condition where the patient’s breath can stop for 10+ seconds, several times per night. It is a disorder which requires treatment in order to be able to breathe naturally and get a restful night of sleep. The most common form of therapy is represented by the use of a CPAP. The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device helps patients receive enough oxygen into their lungs. The device releases a continuous stream of oxygen at a pre-established pressure, and this stream of air helps to maintain the upper airways open. This way, obstructions in the airways are prevented and the patient can get good quality rest and sleep.

Many patients find it difficult to adjust to the use of a CPAP. Only a physician can prescribe the use of such a device, after making several tests and giving the right diagnosis. The CPAP machine comes with a tubing system attached to it and a compatible mask that the patient needs to wear in order to receive air therapy. Besides the use of a CPAP or a BiPAP, there are some other alternative treatment options that can be considered. However, the most common form of therapy for patients with OSA – Obstructive Sleep Apnea, breathing/ lung disorders are represented by a breathing device.

  • In order to diagnose sleep apnea, patients will go through a “sleep study”. The patient needs to spend overnight at the sleep center, where they will monitor the breathing activity during sleep
  • The test will monitor the following functions: muscle activity during sleep, eye movements, oxygen levels in the bloodstream, respiratory effort & heart rate, apnea events, etc.
  • With the help of a sleep study, the experts will be able to diagnose correctly sleep apnea, but also the severity degree of the disorder

Wearing a dental appliance

sleep apnea dental appliance

Before actually having to wear a CPAP device, many patients will first try the alternative option of wearing a dental device. These types of devices will prevent the collapse of the upper airways by maintaining the tongue in the correct position. These devices can also help to slide the jaw of the patient in a forward position so that they can breathe correctly while sleeping. Patients who struggle with mild sleep apnea and cannot resist the use of a CPAP are most often redirected towards the use of a dental appliance during sleep.

Sleep Apnea Invasive Method: Surgery

Patients struggling with sleep apnea may have extra soft tissue in their throat which causes the blockage in the upper airways. It is possible to minimize or even completely eliminate this extra soft tissue through surgery. Some types of surgeries are indeed only minimally invasive, but in some cases, the surgery is quite complex. Sleep apnea-related surgery is typically performed in one of the following areas: the upper or the lower jaw section, the tongue itself, tonsils/adenoids or the soft palate.
If you have considered surgery instead of the use of a CPAP device or other alternative options, there are several questions you should ask your doctor before the final decision. For example, you should ask him statistics related questions such as what is the success rate of this type of surgery. Or, ask your doctor to give you before/after information regarding his patients who underwent surgery. To what degree will this procedure improve your sleep apnea problems? Last, but not least get to know all the possible risks or side effects of the surgery. If you are well informed, you will be able to take the right decision.

Improve your condition with weight management & positional therapy

Statistics show that more than half of sleep apnea sufferers struggle with excess weight or even obesity. This condition has been caused by this extra weight because the fatty tissues are causing respiratory problems. Quite often, you can improve your condition by following a weight management program. In some cases losing weight can eliminate the problem, or it can help to improve all the signs and symptoms.

However, losing weight will not help those apnea sufferers who have narrow airway passages. Even if losing weight will not eradicate the sleep apnea problem in totality, it will help in to improve your overall physical condition. You will feel better, sleep better and move better.

Some patients struggle with apnea events only when they sleep on their back. However, when these patients turn to their side, the snoring and the apnea will not happen anymore. There is positional therapy available for patients who have sleep apnea because they sleep in a supine position most of the time. There is a special device available that you will need to wear around your back/waist and this will help you maintain the correct position during sleep. The device helps you sleep on our sides and prevents you from turning on your back.