How to Best Treat Sleep Apnea
Moderate to severe sleep apnea patients require more intensive remedies than those with mild cases. Oftentimes, simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or losing weight are sufficient to lower the sleep apnea to acceptable levels. Similarly, in cases where nasal congestion or allergies are the culprit, simple over the counter remedies can provide relief. For patients that require more intensive treatment, there are a few options available, with the CPAP machine being the one most frequently used. If your sleep symptoms are not improving, it may be time to investigate how best to treat sleep apnea and which option is best for you.
Most commonly used in sleep apnea treatment is the CPAP machine (CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure). These machines utilize a mask that covers the nose and mouth and provides continuous airflow while you sleep. This stronger flow prevents the upper air passageways from constricting, thus preventing apnea from occurring. It may take some adjustments to your equipment until it works properly and is comfortable. Discuss any issues you may experience with your doctor, as these hurdles are quite common at the beginning of the process and are easily remedied with some alterations.
If the CPAP machine proves too unwieldy for you, there are oral devices that may also be effective in your treatment. These are placed in the mouth and work by keeping the throat open and the air passages clear. These devices are fitted by your dentist whom you will need to bring onto your treatment team. Typically, this option is most effective in mild cases but there are some devices that have shown success in more severe situations. If the CPAP machine is not a workable option, these oral devices may be a more effective route to take.
Surgery is the most extreme option in sleep apnea treatment and should be considered only after all other options have been exhausted. In extreme cases, a tracheostomy may be performed in order to create a new airway. Other options include the removal of problematic tissue in the throat as well as your tonsils and adenoids to help clear your air passageways. If the tongue is creating a blockage, then a jaw repositioning may be done to increase the amount of space at the back of the mouth behind the tongue and the soft palate area. Other surgical options are available depending on the cause of the sleep apnea.
Sleep disorders can decrease one’s overall quality of life, and sleep apnea has other health considerations as well. If you are experiencing sleep disturbances that you think may be caused by sleep apnea, your doctor can work with you and a sleep clinic to determine the best course of action. The proper treatment of your apnea can make a world of difference in your energy level as well as your overall wellbeing. Treatment should be sought in a timely manner in order to prevent it from worsening and avoid any complications that can be caused by the disorder.