Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Characterized by gaps between normal breathing during sleep, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that plagues many people. A problem that extends beyond the normal scope of snoring, this is a sleep disorder that should be treated seriously with patients seeking sleep apnea treatment.

There are two main types of sleep apnea. The first is called obstructive sleep apnea and is caused when the soft tissue at the back of the throat relaxes, blocking the passage of air. The second type is called central sleep apnea and is caused by irregular activity when the brain signals for your body to breathe. Although obstructive sleep apnea is more common, it is also fairly common that people have a combination of both. Since this problem affects not only the quality of rest a person receives but also poses future health problems, it’s understandable why patients should seek sleep apnea treatment.

There are several types of sleep apnea treatment available. The different method of treatment depends on the severity and the specific symptoms a patient is exhibiting. If the condition is mild, sleep apnea treatments can be as simple as things like buying a better pillow that offers more support and helps air flow evenly or avoiding medications, alcoholic beverages, quitting smoking, or following a better diet. Doctors tend to try these methods first before proceeding with other sleep apnea treatments.

If these lifestyle changes don’t produce results, doctors often recommend CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). This is where a mask and machine blow air through a tube to keep your airway open. There are also other variations of the mask type therapy called VPAP (variable positive airway pressure) and APAP (automatic positive airway pressure). CPAP is one of the more common sleep apnea treatments and has worked well in many patients.

When confronted with sleep apnea treatments like masks, some patients are resistant, but once they try sleeping with the mask, they are surprised by the deeper, more satisfying sleep they enjoy. These masks are often used along with humidifiers since some patients experience dry airways and mucous membranes as a result of these “air compressor” machines.

Other sleep apnea treatments include MAS (Mandibular advancement splint). This is a sort of mouth guard that holds the bottom jaw at a relaxed position and moves the tongue away from the back of the airway. This promotes more even, unobstructed breathing.

If all other sleep apnea treatments have been exhausted, a doctor may have to resort to surgical intervention to correct the problem. Many people may think this seems a drastic remedy to snoring, but you need to keep in mind that sleep apnea, if left untreated, can have devastating consequences. Excessive drowsiness can cause people to fall asleep when driving or when in other potentially dangerous situations. It has also been linked to strokes, high blood pressure, and heart failure. After looking at the facts, it’s not hard for a person to understand why it’s important to seek sleep apnea treatment.