Sleep apnea is a disorder in which you stop breathing while you sleep for ten to thirty seconds at a time. There have been documented cases of this happening 400 times in a single night.
Noises like choking or gasping during sleep are classic symptoms of this disorder, which can also lead to frequent nighttime awakenings and general fatigue during the day. The prevalence of this disorder is thought to range from 5-10% globally.
While there is currently no cure for sleep apnea, you can control it with a healthy lifestyle and treatment.
Many different methods exist for treating sleep apnea, and this article will review some of them with you. This article talks about the mental effects of sleep apnea and how to deal with the shock of being told you have a disease that will kill you.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea can be fatal if untreated, so it's crucial to get help if you have it. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and shorter life expectancy are all things that have been linked to sleep apnea. It can lead to extreme drowsiness during the day, which raises the danger of dozing off behind the wheel or while operating dangerous machinery.
One's sleep apnea treatment options may differ based on the severity of their symptoms, the type of sleep apnea one has, and any coexisting medical conditions.
How Sleep Apnea Is Treated
Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments: 1. Medication
2. Lifestyle Changes
3. Breathing Devices
4. Oral Appliances
Each treatment choice is discussed in detail below.
Changes in Lifestyle
In the early stages of treating sleep apnea, most patients start with conservative measures like:
Losing weight: when people who are overweight or obese lose weight, their sleep apnea symptoms improve dramatically.
Sleeping on the back: People with sleep apnea should sleep on their side because it can worsen the condition because the soft tissues press against the airway. Since sleeping on your back exacerbates sleep apnea, switching to your side is recommended for those who suffer from this condition. Pillows and other sleep aids designed for side sleepers can help you feel more at ease.
Avoiding alcohol: Limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption may be recommended by your doctor if you suffer from sleep apnea because alcohol relaxes the muscles at the back of your throat, making it more difficult to breathe while asleep.
Quitting smoking: Sleep apnea symptoms are made worse by smoking because of its negative impact on sleep quality, the inflammation it has on the airways, and the snoring it causes.
Treat other health issues: In addition to treating sleep apnea, treating any underlying conditions contributing to the disorder may be necessary. Central sleep apnea patients, for instance, should prioritize heart failure treatment.
Some medications may be avoided while taking others to treat sleep apnea:
Use Nasal Sprays for easy breathing: Using nasal sprays or adhesive strips can help open up your nasal passages and make it easier for air to enter and exit your lungs. If your sleep apnea is mild, this may help you sleep better by decreasing snoring.
Avoid opioid pain relievers: Opioids should be avoided. If you take them, your doctor may advise you to taper off slowly because of the link between opioid use and sleep apnea. If you stop taking the medication, your sleep apnea may be greatly alleviated or gone altogether.
Avoid muscle relaxants and sedatives: Your doctor may advise you to skip the sleeping pills and the muscle relaxers because they slow down your central nervous system and make breathing more difficult while you're asleep.
Some medications, such as hypnotics and respiratory stimulants, can help with sleep apnea, but they have not been formally accepted or approved for treating this condition.
The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is using a positive airway pressure (PAP) device, a type of breathing device.
The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is the most widely used PAP device, though there are others.
It takes some getting used to sleeping with a breathing device like a CPAP machine, and there are potential side effects like stuffy or runny nose, dry eyes, dry mouth, and even nosebleeds. Consult your doctor if you experience any adverse effects and follow their instructions.
You can also treat sleep apnea with breathing machines like the auto-adjusting positive airway pressure (APAP) machine, the bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), and the adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) machine.
Your doctor may suggest an oral appliance to wear in your mouth in place of a PAP machine if you cannot use one.
Mandibular repositioning mouthpieces: A mandibular repositioning mouthpiece is an appliance worn while sleeping to correct malocclusions. These devices fit over your upper and lower teeth and keep your jaw in place, preventing it from closing and blocking your airway.
Tongue retaining devices: Nighttime tongue retaining devices are designed to prevent upper airway obstruction by keeping the tongue from sliding back into the mouth.
Electrical stimulation devices: The Food and Drug Administration has also approved an electrical stimulation device to treat sleep apnea. For six weeks, the appliance should be worn in the mouth for a total of twenty minutes per day while the person is awake. It sends electrical pulses to your tongue muscle to keep it from falling back and blocking your airways while you sleep.
You'll have to schedule an appointment with your dentist so they can take accurate measurements and show you how to use the oral appliance properly.
The Final Verdict
Although there is currently no cure for sleep apnea, you can control it with a healthy lifestyle and treatment. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with this condition, you must seek treatment as soon as possible.
Many medical professionals, including a sleep specialist, cardiologist, neurologist, dentist, nutritionist, and physical therapist, may need to collaborate on your care depending on your symptoms, type of sleep apnea, and any other health issues or conditions you have.
In contrast to the rapid improvement experienced by some patients upon initiating treatment, others may need to adhere to their regimen for three to six months before they begin to feel better. You should also prioritize your emotional and psychological health and well-being at this time.