Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea treatment utilizes the sleep apnea machine for moderate to severe cases of the disorder.

Sleep apnea is a disorder wherein the affected person ceases to breathe during sleep (See: Sleep apnea treatment is important because of the serious complications sleep apnea may bring. This may cause cardiovascular problems such as: hypertension, congestive heart failure, and stroke (See: Symptoms of a Stroke). The airway may also collapse because of this disorder which is very detrimental as this may cause death.

If a person is experiencing symptoms such as: chronic snoring, daytime fatigue (See: Chronic Fatigue Symptoms), lack of concentration, morning headache, or gasping for air while asleep, that person must seek medical attention. This is because this may be signs of sleep apnea. The most common cause of sleep apnea is due to airway obstruction. The goal of treatment for this type of apnea is to keep the airway open. In relation to this, support may be necessary. A face mask should be worn while asleep to provide a constant flow of oxygen. The best treatment modality is through the use of a sleep apnea machine which is called a CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure.

However, other treatment methods also exist that are beneficial for sleep apnea patients. For mild sleep apnea, the patient may as well utilize lifestyle changes to treat the disorder. A mouthpiece or oral appliance or surgery may also be used. Treatment for sleep apnea varies depending on the disorder’s severity and the preferences of the patient.

Lifestyle Changes for Sleep Apnea Treatment

The treatment choice for mild cases of sleep apnea includes changes in the patient’s habits and daily activities. The use of sleeping medications or other forms of medications that cause sleep and the use of alcohol should be avoided in patients with sleep apnea. They cause the throat and tongue muscles to weaken which makes it difficult for the airway to stay open during sleep.

The layers of fat in the patient’s throat may, likewise, cause the problem. The fat layers in the throat make the airways large and increase the probability of collapse causing blockage in the airway. For obese or overweight patients, it is highly recommended to lose weight. This improves the symptoms because this eliminates fat layers in the airway. Moreover, it is also important for the patient to maintain a sleep schedule and bedtime routine. Sleeping on your back causes the tongue to roll back because of gravity, therefore, blocking the airway. To prevent this from happening, the patient is recommended to sleep on his or her side. Another way to prevent the tongue from rolling back and blocking the airway is to keep your head elevated to at least 45 degrees while asleep.

Smoking has a lot of ill effects. Sleep apnea is one of them. Smoking causes inflammation in the upper airways. Quitting smoking causes less obstruction in the airways and makes breathing easy.

Sleep Apnea Machine and Breathing Devices

A lot of machines available on the market can be used for the treatment of sleep apnea. These machines are costly, and the doctor would recommend you to undergo a series of tests before allowing you to use a machine. A widely used machine as well as the most recommended mode of treatment is CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. It is usually used for obstructive sleep apnea. This machine provides a continuous airflow that prevents the airway from closing. This reduces the risk of the patient having an apneic event while sleeping.

However, CPAP also has its disadvantages. Many claim that the machine produces a lot of noise making it hard for the patients to sleep. The mask that is needed for the treatment to be effective may, likewise, cause discomfort with the patient.

BiPAP, or bi-level positive airway pressure, is also another type of sleep apnea machine. The BiPAP machines work in almost the same way as a CPAP machine will. The only difference is that BiPAP machines don’t produce a constant amount of airflow. It adjusts the airflow for the patient depending on the patient’s breathing. It lowers the pressure during exhalation and produces a high amount of pressure when inhaling.

Surgery for the Treatment of Sleep Apnea

If the use of a sleep apnea machine is impossible for sleep apnea treatment, the patient may benefit from surgery. However, the results still depend on the cause of the disorder. Surgery is most beneficial for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Surgery involves widening the airway. It may include: removing excess tissue, stiffening, shrinking the tissues in the throat (See: Throat cancer symptoms) or mouth, or maybe resetting the jaw. To shrink the tissues, a series of treatments are done. They may involve a series of treatment shots into the tissues. To stiffen the tissues, the physician creates a cut in the tissue to insert a small piece of plastic. In certain cases, the tonsils are the cause of the obstruction; therefore, making a tonsillectomy or removal of the tonsils is the surgery of choice.

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